How Kobe Bryant passed the Michael Jordan test to form unique bond

Part 5 of the “The Last Dance” dove into Michael Jordan’s unique relationship with Kobe Bryant, and now a trainer whom the two legendary NBA stars shared revealed his first-hand knowledge of their special bond.

“The reason Kobe was different in MJ’s eyes is because Kobe looked at Michael as a reference book, encyclopedia, whatever you want to call it,” Tim Grover told CBS Sports Radio’s The Jim Rome Show. “He didn’t look at him as a fan. He wasn’t interested in, ‘Mike can I have your shoes after the game? Can I get the signed jersey? Can you do this?’ He wanted to absorb the knowledge that MJ had, and MJ would test individuals. He would give them a little, and then he would see if they actually applied it, and if they actually learned it, and if they actually learned to use it.

“Then if he did that, and you came back and asked for more, he would give you more, but most people never got past that first stage because they were more enamored by the MJ aura than about the actual learning process of becoming the best basketball player.”

In the most recent showing of ESPN’s 10-part Jordan documentary, cameras take you into the Eastern Conference’s locker room ahead of the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. The stars, including Jordan, can be heard talking about “the little Laker boy” prior to tip off.

In January, Bryant and his daughter Gianna were one of nine individuals to perish in a helicopter crash. An interview with Bryant about Jordan was part of the documentary.

Jordan attended his public memorial in late February and gave a heartfelt speech, where Jordan referred to Bryant as his “little brother.”

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