With 18 NBA All-Star selections, five league titles, and two Olympic gold medals under his belt, Kobe Bryant is hanging it up at the end of this season. As the future Hall of Famer plays the final games of his historic career, here’s what stars from around the league are saying about one of the greatest Lakers of all time.
“Kobe was aggressive on the court, but a gentleman through and through. He’d ask everyone he was paired against, ‘Did you have supper? What did you have for supper?’ Every game, from first quarter to last. And he’d remember what you had too, years later. I’ve never seen such a high level of sportsmanship.”
“If it weren’t for Kobe, I wouldn’t even know what a basketball is. I would have just assumed it was a big orange egg from The Flintstones that someone stole from Mr. Slate.”
“I can’t knock someone who dominated the court like that. That said, every time he took a shot, he would shout ‘One more melon in the berry bowl!’ I’ll give it to him that melons are fruits, but they’re definitely not berries. It didn’t sit right with me.”
“Kobe loved having nicknames for his opponents, but he gave everybody the same one. It was ‘Cowboy.’”
“Kobe Bryant prepares better than anyone else in the league. I was guarding him a couple years ago, and he kept muttering a bunch of dates over and over. I looked them up later, and it turned out that they were the birthdays of all of my cousins.”
“He has one of the most brilliant minds in basketball. Kobe once took me to a Johnny Rockets before a game and said, ‘Dirk Nowitzki, you can have as many orders of chili cheese fries as you want—my treat!’ I said, ‘Kobe, you’re not trying to get me bloated and disgusting before our game, are you?’ He was appalled that I would say such a thing. ‘You are my best friend, Dirk Nowitzki, and I love you,’ he said. So I went to town on those chili cheese fries, and wouldn’t you know it, I threw up all over the floor at the Staples Center and wanted to die.”
“He is the smartest player I have ever played against. He knows that the key to success on the court is to never think about how you are sweating in front of so many people. The league just won’t be the same without him.”