Updated 02:34 PM EDT, Tue, Oct 19, 2021

NBA News Updates: Kobe Bryant Reveals He Wanted to Join the Wizards & Michael Jordan

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Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has revealed that he indeed wanted to leave his team a long time ago and join the Washington Wizards, the team of his idol Michael Jordan whom he said he really wanted to play alongside with.

Bryant revealed, in an article by ESPN, that more than a decade ago, he thought of joining the Wizards and give up playing for the Lakers.

"That's true. A long time ago? Yeah. I've always been very big on having mentors, on having muses, and I've been really, really big on that, being around guys who have done it before and done it at a high level and always tried to pick their brains and always tried to absorb knowledge. Obviously, being in that situation [with the Wizards], it would've helped having to be around him every day and so on," he was quoted by ESPN as saying.

But it was noted that the shift did not happen because then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin parted ways with Jordan in 2003, a year before Bryant's free agency.

"We would've put together a great team and we would've won championships," Bryant added, noting that the primary reason for him wanting to leave the Lakers that time was his feud with then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal.

"The challenge had been thrown down upon me, of not being able to win without Shaq. A public challenge never really bothered me too much, but he made a couple of comments as well. I think he called me Penny Hardaway Part 2 or something like that. So that's what [ticked] me off," Bryant explained in the ESPN report.

Washington Post also noted that Bryant was ready to make a very big decision in his career because Jordan was his longtime inspiration who also became his mentor.

"When I first came into the league, Michael was terrifying to everybody. Everybody was really afraid of the guy. Like really, deathly afraid of him. I never really understood that and I was the one that was willing to challenge and learn from him and wasn't afraid to call him and ask him questions. He was really open and spoke to me a lot and helped me a lot," Bryant said while sharing his first encounter with Jordan.

The Washington Post also noted that Bryant informed Jordan repeatedly about his decision to join the Wizards.

"I've always been very big on having mentors, on having muses and I've been really, really big on that. Being around guys who have done it before and done it at a high level and always tried to pick their brains and always tried to absorb knowledge. Obviously, being in that situation [with the Wizards], it would've helped having to be around him every day and so on," the Lakers star added in the Washington Post article.

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