The fifth episode of The Last Dance got off to a very emotional start. In the opening, which aired on Sunday night, the words "In loving memory of Kobe Bryant," popped up on the screen. The episode then cut to the 1998 NBA All-Star game at Madison Square Garden, which featured Bryant and Michael Jordan. Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people on Jan. 26. Before his death, Bryant was interviewed for The Last Dance and talked about his relationship with Jordan.
"I grew up watching Michael on TV and now you got a chance to go face-to-face with him, you get a chance to really see and like touch and feel – strength, speed, quickness and it was fun to be out there," Bryant said in the documentary, per USA Today. "I had a question about shooting his turnaround shot so I asked him about it, and he gave me a great detailed answer, but on top of that, he said, if you ever need anything, give me a call. Like my big brother. I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one, and your fans saying, 'Hey Kobe, you'd beat Michael one-on-one.' I feel like, 'Yo, what you get from me is from him.' I don't get five championships here (with the Lakers) without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice."
While both Jordan and Bryant were playing, it was not known that they were close friends. In fact, the overreaching thought was Jordan and Bryant didn't like each other because Bryant was considered to be the next Jordan. However, when Jordan spoke at Bryant's memorial service on Feb. 24, he talked about how close he and Bryant became over the years.
"You know all of us have brothers and sisters who for whatever reason always tend to get in your stuff, your closet, your shoes, everything," he said. "It was a nuisance if I can say that word. But that nuisance turned into love over a period of time just because the admiration that they had for you as big brothers or big sisters. The questions - they're wanting to know every little detail about the life they're about to embark on.
"He used to call me, text, me, 11:30, 12:30, 2:30, 3:00 in the morning talking about post moves, footwork, and sometimes the triangle," Jordan added. At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know. It's an amazing thing about passion. If you love something, if you have a strong passion for something, you would go to the extreme to try to get it.