Kobe Bryant has been at the Los Angeles Lakers for the entirety of his NBA career, but it almost didn't turn out that way.
The Lakers star shooting guard today revealed to the Washington Post that he was incredibly close to leaving Los Angeles as a free agent in 2004 to join Michael Jordan at the Washington Wizards.
Kobe the Wizard?
Bryant had long idolised Jordan during his time as the most dominant force in the National Basketball Association with the Chicago Bulls in the mid-90's, and thanks to his feud with Shaquille O'Neal at the Lakers, Kobe was ready to quit and join His Airness in Washington.
"More than a decade ago, Bryant wanted to get away from Los Angeles, and the team he wanted to join was the Wizards, where he would join forces with his mentor Michael Jordan."
“That’s true,” Bryant confirmed recently. “A long time ago. Yeah. I've always been very big on having mentors, on having muses, and I've been really, really big on that, being around guys who have done it before and done it at a high level. Obviously, being in that situation [with the Wizards], it would've helped having to be around him every day and so on."
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Even More Titles
Bryant was confident that the team of him and Jordan sat the Wizards would have won NBA titles, just like he ended up doing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships,” Bryant said. “Listen, man. There are not a lot of players in this league that say, ‘Come hell or high water, we’re going to get this [expletive] done.’
"People can look around and joke around about winning, saying they want to win. For me, it’s a matter of life or death. It was that important to me. And if it’s that important to me, I’m going to get there," Bryant added.
It's a great what if to contemplate. Would Jordan have won another title or two? Would Kobe be the superstar we recognise today as a Top-10 all time NBA player? Unfortunately the Wizards let Jordan go before Kobe actually hit free agency so it never would have happened.
NBA fans, would Kobe and Jordan have been a match made in heaven culminating in NBA titles? Tell us what you think in the comments below...