Skip to main content

MJ and Kobe Face Off In These Tattoos


The back of this man's legs will forever be locked into an epic battle of one-on-one thanks to his tattoos. On one calf you have Kobe Bryant, on the other you have Michael Jordan. Kobe and MJ were two of the fiercest competitors to ever play in the NBA, and that competitiveness is written all over their faces.

Santiago Macchio, a tattoo artist working out of Spain, is responsible for the portraits. Underneath the two champions is script reading "I Love this Game," the motto for the league back in the 1990's.

One of the frustrating, but also wonderful, things about being a sports fan is that you often don't get to see the all time greats play against each other. For example, what baseball fan wouldn't have loved to have seen Babe Ruth step into the box against Sandy Koufax? And I know that I for one would go crazy to see Tom Brady lead one of his Patriots teams against Joe Montana and the 49ers. We're guessing that the person who got this tattoo feels the same way about Kobe and MJ—each were the best player of his generation but the two never really got the chance to face off against each other while each was in his prime.

But... the two titans did play against each other four times. Well, full disclosure, I am a Chicago Bulls fan so I completely disavow any of Jordan's years with the Wizards when a much diminished Jordan played against Kobe at least a few times. The four times I'm talking about happened between 1996 and 1998. While the Bulls were right in the middle of their second three-peat Kobe was a fresh faced rookie the first two times he squared off against Jordan. In those two meetings Jordan combined for 57 points while Kobe had a mere 10 and spent most of his time on the bench.

It is a confrontation between the Lakers and Bulls in December of 1997 where Kobe first appeared to be an ascendent superstar in the presence of MJ as he came off the bench to score 33 points. Jordan did just enough to better him by putting up 36 as the Bulls cruised to victory. We wonder if the man who got the tattoo was in the stands of the United Center that night, as unlikely as that may be, and that was his inspiration to get this tattoo.

We love the idea behind this tattoo and we think that he should continue with the theme. Maybe he can get tattoos of Magic vs. Bird on the front of his legs, Russell vs. Hakeem on his biceps. And, well, LeBron is going to have to go somewhere of course.

In the gallery below you will find some more tattoos of both Kobe and Jordan.