WATCH: Young Kobe Bryant Trash Talking Magic Johnson In Rare Clip

Published 08/08/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
SAN ANTONIO – MAY 7: (FILE PHOTO) Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers bites his jersey in Game two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2003 NBA Playoffs at SBC Center on May 7, 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. Bryant was released on bail by the Eagle County Sheriff’s office in Colorado July 6, 2003 after posting a $25,000 bond on a felony count of sexual assault. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)


Since the NBA world came into being, trash-talking has become a part and parcel of the game. It’s a rather brutal but effective technique to get into some of the player’s headspace. However, Kobe Bryant did not shy away from admitting here and there that he actually mastered tackling his opponents, both physically and psychologically. In fact, he was so dedicated to getting into his opponent’s head, he actually did it in several languages. Italian is one of them. Here’s how this information came out.

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In an interview with Magic Johnson on a talk show, a 19-year-old Kobe was sitting across from him, answering questions about being compared to Michael Jordan. To which he explained it was a big compliment for him. “After all that he has done for the league, it’s a great honor for me.”

“But then again, I am just a young player coming into the league. And to be compared to the guy who won 6 championships is kind of breathtaking. But I accept it,” he concluded.

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But most people are tired of hearing about these comparisons and who deserves to be called the GOAT. So, of course; the second part of the clip is even more interesting. It’s a rare moment of Kobe trash-talking in Italian was captured.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw in the second quarter of the game on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant: Trash Talking 101

Kobe Bryant’s multilingual talent is something we have seen on the NBA court from time to time. He has got into Tony Parker’s head with French, Gasol’s head with Spanish, and even spoke trash to Luka Doncic in Slovenian.

But we first saw a glimpse of this talent on Magic Johnson’s show when he was 19. Johnson asked Kobe to trash-talk in Italian, to which his first joked around and responded, “I can say whatever I want, it’s not like you will understand anything.

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But then he obliged and in Italian, said, “I switch direction with the ball to my right hand, I jump and I dunk in your face.” After this, the audience couldn’t stop cheering and all Magic could say was, “I don’t know what you said, but it was really smooth.” 

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Kobe actually grew up in Italy and used to get the tapes of games from his grandparents. That’s how he actually studied the game. It’s only natural that he learned the language, too. But boy, this man was talented.

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Yashima Bhatia

1496 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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