Kobe Inspires Lionel Messi
Yahoo! Sports – “Where’s Messi?” Bryant demanded. “I want to see Lionel Messi.”
Soon enough, the Los Angeles Lakers star was locked in conversation with Messi, then 21 and with the soccer world at his feet, in Spanish.
Bryant was 29 and had long since established himself as a man of the world. Messi, already a superstar in his own sport with both his national team and Spanish club Barcelona, was more shy back then than he is today, even with millions in the bank and the chance to lead Argentina to an Olympic gold medal.
The American did most of the talking. And as he left with a handshake and a wave, Bryant turned over his shoulder and uttered words Messi has carried with him since.
“You’re the man, Messi,” Bryant said. “You’re the best. You’re not just good, you’re the best.”