With Kobe Bryant announcing on Sunday that he plans to retire after the season, many NBA players have spoken out praising both the talent and competitiveness that has come to define Bryant over the years.
One such player was LeBron James, who spoke at length about Bryant, citing numerous stats and individual moments from Bryant’s illustrious career.
Either James or Bryant has appeared in every NBA Finals since 2007, and James even jokingly apologized for not holding up his end of the bargain in 2009, when the Cavs won a franchise-high 66 games but failed to reach the Finals, where they would have met Bryant and the Lakers.
But of the many anecdotes James shared about Bryant, one in particular best illustrates Bryant’s competitive spirit.
At the 2008 Olympics, Team USA played rival Spain in a preliminary group game, and just a few possessions into the game, Bryant ran straight through his Lakers teammate Pau Gasol on a pick, sending the 7-foot Spaniard to the ground and earning Bryant a flagrant.
Here’s how James remembered it, via Cleveland.com:
« The first play of the game he ran through the chest of Pau Gasol and got a flagrant. And Pau Gasol was his teammate with the Lakers. I was like, ‘Yeah, this guy is on another level.’
« I loved it. I mean, [Gasol] wasn’t my teammate, but I was like, you guys can find that clip and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It was one of the first plays of the game. I was like, ‘This guy’s all about winning and whoever he’s playing for or who he’s playing with at that point in time. He really forgot Pau was his teammate. Like he really forgot that he was about to see him in like three weeks in L.A. I swear. It was crazy. »
Here’s the play:
from Business Insider http://ift.tt/1IFfOMG