Bryant, who was picked by the Hornets during the 1996 NBA draft, received a personal message from the Bulls icon and Hornets' chairman on the jumbotron before the game.
Jordan was unable to attend Charlotte's 108-98 victory Monday night, so he left a 1-minute, 40-second video for Bryant — who finished with 20 points — complimenting his "unbelievable career" while calling him "a little brother."
"Kobe, MJ," the video began. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there tonight. I just want to congratulate you on an unbelievable career. I think, when I look back, and the first time we actually played against each other, and the competitive drive that I saw within your eyes, even though the knowledge wasn't quite there yet, is very invigorating. And I'm very happy to leave you this message to say how much we are very proud of what you've accomplished over the years.
"Most people don't realize you were drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, so that connects us with you. I've always been like a big brother to you, and you're like a little brother. We communicate all the time. I just want to say congratulations. Your next step in your next career is going to be something that I'm pretty sure you're going to have to figure out. From a competitive standpoint, I'm pretty sure you're just like me. You're going to have to find other ways to utilize that competitive drive
"But I want to congratulate you and Vanessa and the girls. You've been a big help to the game of basketball. You've helped the NBA. You've helped promote it. I'm pretty sure you've got a lot of fans all over the world. I am a big fan. I still love watching you play. I'm very, very happy for you and what you've accomplished within the game. And I look forward to seeing what you do next.
"If you ever need me, you know my number. Let's stay in touch. I wish you the best, and have a great game tonight — not too good of a game. But I want you to stay healthy. As I said a couple weeks ago, this is your last year. Just have fun. Take it a day at a time. Enjoy it. And I look forward to seeing what you do after this. Take care. Good luck."