Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant Head-to-Head Matchups, Highlights, Box Scores

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls (L) eyes the basket as he is guarded by Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during their 01 February game in Los Angeles, CA. Jordan will appear in his 12th NBA All-Star game 08 February while Bryant will make his first All-Star appearance. The Lakers won the game 112-87.  AFP PHOTO/Vince BUCCI (Photo by VINCE BUCCI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP via Getty Images)
VINCE BUCCI/Getty Images

There will never be another Michael Jordan, but Kobe Bryant may have come the closest.

Bryant famously emulated much of his game on His Airness, so much so that Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady once said during an appearance on ESPN that the Los Angeles Lakers legend "would always watch Michael Jordan home movies" when they were teenagers.

"A lot of guys come close; this guy is really close to Michael Jordan and emulating him on the court as far as how he talks, how he walks, how he conducts himself and how he hoops on the basketball court," McGrady said.

While Bryant fell one championship short of Jordan's six, he did earn bragging rights in one category: head-to-head matchups.

Bryant finished his career with a 5-3 record in matchups against Jordan, although, much like Bryant and LeBron James, they never faced each other in the NBA Finals. It wasn't just a case of the Lakers guard defeating the Washington Wizards version of Jordan either, as they split their four contests when Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

The Lakers won three of the four matchups in the 2000s when they were competing for championships and Jordan was finishing his career on the Wizards following a second retirement.

Here is a look at the final box-score totals for all eight games, per Basketball Reference:


Dec. 17, 1996: Bulls win 129-123

  • Michael Jordan (CHI): 30 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 10-of-32 from the field, 0-of-2 from three
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 2-of-5 from the field, 1-of-2 from three


Feb. 5, 1997: Lakers win 106-90

  • Michael Jordan (CHI): 27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 10-of-24 from the field, 2-of-5 from three
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 2-of-7 from the field, 1-of-2 from three


Dec. 17, 1997: Bulls win 104-83

  • Michael Jordan (CHI): 36 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 12-of-22 from the field, 1-of-2 from three
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 33 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 12-of-20 from the field, 3-of-5 from three


Feb. 1, 1998: Lakers win 112-87

  • Michael Jordan (CHI): 31 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 11-of-26 from the field, 0-of-1 from three
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 7-of-16 from the field, 2-of-6 from three


Feb. 12, 2002: Lakers win 103-94

  • Michael Jordan (WAS): 22 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 8-of-20 from the field
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 23 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 9-of-20 from the field, 0-of-1 from three


April 2, 2002: Lakers win 113-93

  • Michael Jordan (WAS): 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1-of-5 from the field
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 14 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 6-of-13 from the field


Nov. 8, 2002: Wizards win 100-99

  • Michael Jordan (WAS): 25 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 9-of-14 from the field
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 8-of-21 from the field


March 28, 2003: Lakers win 108-94

  • Michael Jordan (WAS): 23 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, 10-of-20 from the field
  • Kobe Bryant (LAL): 55 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 15-of-29 from the field, 9-of-13 from three


If it wasn't clear before how much his relationship with the Lakers great meant to Jordan, it was when he spoke at Bryant's memorial service at Staples Center.

An emotional Jordan said "when Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died" and called Bryant his "little brother."

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic noted Bryant will appear in ESPN's The Last Dance about Jordan and the 1990s Bulls and was interviewed for it one week before he died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.

The scenes will likely be especially poignant given the context of Jordan's speech.