For Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan was both a fierce competitor and a helpful big brother.
On Sunday, the fifth part of ESPN's documentary miniseries The Last Dance aired, bringing chills to viewers as it honed in on the late Bryant's relationship with Jordan and featured new footage of the basketball legend shot last July before his untimely death in January.
During the episode, which began with an "In loving memory" dedication to Bryant, the retired pro credited Jordan with giving him guidance and helping to make him the player he became.
"I had a question about shooting this turnaround shot, so I asked him about it," the late court star recalled. "He gave me a great detailed answer. But, on top of that, he said, 'If you ever need anything, give me a call.' He's like my big brother."
Bryant went on to reject the theories about who would be the victor of a one-on-one game. "I truly hate having discussions about who would win one on one," he said. "You're a fan saying, 'Hey Kobe, you beat Michael one on one."
"I feel like, Yo—what you get from me is from him," he continued. "I won't get five championships here without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice."
While Bryant made Jordan's impact on him clear in the documentary, Jordan honored their friendship as he spoke at Bryant's public memorial service in February.
"Maybe it surprised people that Kobe and I were very close friends. But we were very close friends. Kobe was my dear friend. He was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe," the icon said.
"What Kobe Bryant was to me was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way either I played the game or the way that he wanted to play the game. He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be."