Live updates: Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in December 1997. Vincent Laforet/AFP/Getty Images

NBA legend Michael Jordan got tearful as he talked about Kobe Bryant’s legacy.

“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 that comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe,” he said.

Jordan recalled how Bryant would often call or text him in the early-morning hours to talk about basketball.

“At first it was an aggravation, but then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know,” he said.

Bryant, he said, wanted to be “the best basketball player that he could be.”

“As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be,” he said. “To do that, you had to put up with the aggravation, the late-night calls or the dumb questions. I took great pride as I got to know Kobe Bryant, that he was just trying to be a better person, a better basketball player.”

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