The Time Lionel Messi Was Introduced To Kobe Bryant By Ronaldinho
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Kobe Bryant was once introduced to a 17-year-old Lionel Messi, with the NBA legend's friend Ronaldinho telling him the teenager was going to be the best in the world.
Bryant, who tragically passed away last year when he was involved in a helicopter crash, was friends with Ronaldinho.
The Barcelona squad were in LA for a pre season tour and the pair met, the Brazilian introduced his friend to his teenage teammate Messi.
The LA Lakers star once told the story of the fascinating meeting and it's worth rewatching.
"I'll tell you a story. A long time ago, Barcelona came to Los Angeles," Bryant said.
"Ronaldinho, who was a good friend, I was talking with him and he told me: 'Kobe, look I'm going to introduce you to the guy who is going to be the greatest player of all time."
The LA Lakers legend went on to say he believed Ronaldinho was the best, but the Brazilian reaffirmed that a young Messi would take his crown.
"I said: 'You what? You are the best.' But he said: 'No, no. This kid right here is going to be the best.' And that guy was Lionel Messi, who was only 17."
Messi and Bryant's paths would cross again in 2013 when they appeared in a series of Turkish Airlines advert together.
The advert was titled 'Legends on Board' and featured a young child approaching the two superstars for autographs on an airplane.
They both proceed to show off their talents to the child, who eventually rejects them for an air hostess with a plate of food.
Bryant was known as a big football fan and was asked about Messi's impact on Barcelona by CNN less than two weeks before his death.
When discussing the 33-year-old, Kobe said:
"He's [Messi] one of the greatest athletes of all time - his tenacity, intelligence with which he plays as well as his skill.
"It just puts him head and shoulders above the rest."
It's clear to see that the two elite sportsmen shared a tremendous amount of respect for each other.