Kobe Bryant told the Washington Post that he almost became a Wizard back in 2004, when Michael Jordan was finishing up his career in Washington. More than anybody in the world, Kobe Bryant took that Gatorade Be Like Mike commercial to heart. Even Jordan has said Kobe would be a tough one-on-one matchup, simply because Bryant “stole all my moves.” Teaming up with Jordan almost proved irresistible to Bryant.
Kobe thought that he and Jordan, whom he considers a mentor, “would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships.” Jordan, of course, wasn’t on the court by 2004. He was running then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin’s front office, making personnel decisions. (In other words, Jordan was at the beginning of what has been a checkered, at best, career in the front office.) But Jordan was known for un-retiring–he did it twice. If Kobe had gone to Washington, you just know Jordan would’ve un-retired again in time for a playoff run. Kind of like when Pat Riley decided he’d better coach the Heat in 2006.