‘Even with MJ saying it’: Jamal Crawford and Isiah Thomas Recall Hall of Famers Predicting Kobe Bryant’s Future

Published 12/06/2020, 10:26 AM EST


In the 1998 All-Star Game, we witnessed one legend and one soon-to-be-legend cross paths with each other. On one hand, Michael Jordan was in the last season with the Chicago Bulls. But on the flip side, 19-year-old Kobe Bryant was trying to pave his path in the league. The two were at very different stages of their career, but their matchup became a duel to remember.

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There was a point when it looked like Jordan would not make it to the 1998 NBA All-Star game because of the flu. However, motivation came kicking in when he realized it could be his last appearance. So, he mustered up the courage to go head-to-head with the rising star that was already being compared to him.

Kobe was just starting out, but in no time, he made a name for himself. The stats in his rookie year caught everyone’s attention and became the youngest starter in the All-Star event in history.

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The mark was made and after that; we saw Kobe develop into the legend we knew. However, did people know the potential he actually held?

022738.SP.0115.lakers7.WS Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the National Anthem at the Staples Center Monday against the Vancouver Grizzlies. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Did everyone recognize the potential Kobe Bryant had?

Recently on Twitter, Isiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford went back and forth talking about that 1998 All-Star game. This conversation sparked the question of whether Hall of Famers of that time knew the player Kobe was going to turn out to be.

Jamal Crawford posted, “Watching this 98′ all-star game. Some of the greatest in history on the floor. No back down at all From Kobe!! And in the Garden, couldn’t imagine the energy in the building!” 

Isiah Thomas couldn’t help but question the people who in the film ‘Last Dance’ confidently talked about the fact that they knew the rising star Kobe was going to be. “And the craziest part is in the last dance all them Hall of Famers speaking on Kobe how they did… they even knew how special he was going to be”

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Crawford didn’t agree to this. He believes that Kobe’s potential was very evident. So, he responded, “They KNEW w/o a doubt bro!!! Even with MJ saying it, the respect was there from him. He knew they were from the same cloth!!”

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Regardless of whether they knew, Kobe’s career is an inspiration for many. Standing by one team -the Lakers– and carving his legendary path with them alone is something few players can say they’ve done. Even after his death, he is remembered by all. He will always be the gone-but-never-forgotten legend of the league.

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Yashima Bhatia

1196 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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