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Michael Jordan Says 'When Kobe Bryant Died, a Piece of Me Died'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2020

Retired US basketball player Michael Jordan speaks during the
FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images

Michael Jordan was emotional while honoring Kobe Bryant during Monday's memorial service at the Staples Center. 

"When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died," Jordan said. "And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died."

The NBA Hall of Famer was in tears describing his relationship with his friend.

Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash January 26 in Calabasas, California.

A wide variety of speakers discussed Kobe and Gianna during the celebration of their lives, including Vanessa Bryant, Rob Pelinka, Shaquille O'Neal and Geno Auriemma.

Jordan's speech was especially memorable, telling stories of interactions between them while praising Bryant's off-court abilities.

"I admired him because his passion, you rarely see someone who's looking and trying to improve each and every day. Not just in sports but as a parent, as a husband," he said. "I am inspired by what he's done and what he shared with Vanessa and what he's shared with his kids."

As the 57-year-old noted, Bryant also inspired him as a father.

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"I can't wait to get home to become a girl dad, and to hug them and to see the love and the smiles that they bring to us as parents. He taught me that," Jordan added. "... These are the things that we will continue to learn from Kobe Bryant."

Jordan also provided some lighter moments, discussing late-night conversations as well as mocking his own "Crying Jordan" meme.

It created an extraordinary speech to memorialize a fellow basketball legend.

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