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Magic Johnson opens up about his relationship with Kobe Bryant saying they ‘idolized each other’

‘We idolized each other’: Grieving Magic Johnson opens up about his relationship with Kobe Bryant and jokes about their only one-on-one battle, admitting ‘he was killing me!’

  • Not only did Kobe Bryant idolize Magic Johnson, as talk show host Jimmy Kimmel posited on Tuesday, but that reverence was apparently reciprocal
  • ‘We idolized each other,’ Johnson said on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Although the initial mood was somber, the interview became humorous as Johnson described his only on-on-one battle with Bryant, who was in his prime
  • ‘He got mad at me because I called foul on every play,’ said the 60-year-old Johnson, adding, ‘he was in his prime, killing me… so I was like, “I gotta cheat!”‘

Not only did Kobe Bryant idolize Magic Johnson, as talk show host Jimmy Kimmel posited on Tuesday, but that reverence was actually reciprocal, the 60-year-old retired Lakers legend explained.

‘We idolized each other,’ Johnson said on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live – an appearance that was scheduled before Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people.

Kimmel thanked the grieving Johnson for following through with the appearance under the circumstances.

‘Kobe wouldn’t want me to cancel,’ Johnson said. ‘Kobe would want us all to carry on.’

Kimmel held up a picture of the two on Tuesday

Magic Johnson told Jimmy Kimmel that he and Kobe Bryant idolized each other. (Right) Kimmel holds up a picture of a retired Johnson having fun with Bryant during the latter’s playing career

'We idolized each other,' Johnson said on Tuesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live – an appearance that was scheduled before Sunday's tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people. Kimmel thanked the grieving Johnson for following through with the appearance under the circumstances. 'Kobe wouldn't want me to cancel,' Johnson said. 'Kobe would want us all to carry on'

‘We idolized each other,’ Johnson said on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live – an appearance that was scheduled before Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people. Kimmel thanked the grieving Johnson for following through with the appearance under the circumstances. ‘Kobe wouldn’t want me to cancel,’ Johnson said. ‘Kobe would want us all to carry on’

Both Kobe Bryant (left) and Magic Johnson (right) won five titles during their Lakers careers

Both Kobe Bryant (left) and Magic Johnson (right) won five titles during their Lakers careers  

Although the initial mood was somber, the interview became humorous as Johnson described his only on-on-one battle with Bryant.

‘He got mad at me because I called foul on every play,’ said Johnson, who, like Bryant, helped win five NBA titles during his tenure with the Lakers.

‘I was older, and he was in his prime, killing me,’ Johnson continued. ‘So I was like, “I gotta cheat! I gotta do something!”‘

Bryant (left) and Johnson (right) both played their entire careers for the L.A. Lakers

Bryant (left) and Johnson (right) both played their entire careers for the L.A. Lakers 

The two never played one-on-one again, which speaks to Bryant’s competitive nature.

‘We both poured our heart and soul into performing every night, in Los Angeles, for the greatest fans on Earth,’ said Johnson. ‘We both were committed to basketball, we were married to basketball, we were married to winning and playing the game the right way.

‘Every night you came to the Staples Center you knew that you were going to see something special, something great, that you’d never seen in your life, and that was Kobe Bryant.’

‘Kobe never made excuses,’ he added. ‘Whether he was tired, hurt, he played through everything, and the man gave us everything he had.’

Johnson stepped down as Lakers president last year, leaving Bryant’s former agent, general manager Rob Pelinka completely in charge of the team’s basketball operations. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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