Kobe Bryant Reveals How Ronaldinho Introduced Him to 17-Year-Old Leo Messi

Joe GallagherFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2016

HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 5:  (L-R)  Ronaldinho of Brazil and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers speak at Nike European Club Champion FC Barcelona Rally at Hollywood and Highland on August 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images).
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Lionel Messi isn't running low on plaudits, but this one has to be quite humbling for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Retiring NBA legend Kobe Bryant revealed in an interview with ESPN, via Goal.com, how he met the Argentinian superstar when he was just a teenager through former Barcelona and Brazil star Ronaldinho.

"I'll tell you a story. A long time ago, Barcelona came to Los Angeles," Bryant said. "Ronaldinho, who was a good friend, I was talking with him and he told me: 'Kobe, look I'm going to introduce you to the guy who is going to be the greatest player of all time."

HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 5:  (L-R)  Ronaldinho of Brazil and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers speak at Nike European Club Champion FC Barcelona Rally at Hollywood and Highland on August 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Im
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Bryant, who is playing in his 20th and final season with the Los Angeles Lakers, explained that Ronaldinho had pegged the youngster for stardom from a young age.

"I said: 'You what? You are the best.' But he said: 'No, no. This kid right here is going to be the best.' And that guy was Lionel Messi, who was only 17."

The rest, as they say, is history.

[Goal.com]