Kobe Bryant Discusses Experience with Celtics Prior to 1996 Draft
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have the best basketball rivalry for a reason. It doesn’t matter where either team stands in Conference standings. It doesn’t matter who is active or on the injured list. The historical battle between these two teams have stood the test of time. Tonight’s game in Boston may not have the same feeling as a Finals match, but the rivalry remains intact nevertheless.
Kobe Bryant sat down with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan for another installment of his great interview tour as of late. He talked about his goals and desires for Dwight Howard as a member of the Lakers, his feelings about Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, how trash talk has changed in the NBA and his choice of Lakers or Celtics.
When asked what team he would prefer given all the circumstances surrounding the two teams this season, Bryant replied:
“I’d take the Lakers, for sure,” Kobe answered. “Honestly, I like where we are. I like the pieces we have. We’re still a pretty big team. If we get our guys healthy, I think we can make a significant run at it.
“So I’ll take my guys. And, even if I felt differently, I’m such a die-hard Lakers fan I’d never admit to wanting to be them,” meaning the Celtics.
Kobe then discussed how he was told that the Celtics wanted him to workout for them prior to the 1996 NBA Draft, to which Kobe initially refused to do.
“They said, ‘What do you mean no?”‘ Kobe said. “I was such a Lakers fan and I just hated the Celtics. They said, ‘C’mon now, you have to do this.’ So I asked them, ‘But do I have to wear all that green stuff?”‘
Kobe reluctantly suited up in a Celtics shirt and green shorts. He participated in dribbling and shooting drills and half-court offensive drills with Dennis Johnson, a former All-Star turned assistant coach. (Kobe tweeted a photo of his Boston workout in 1996.)
“DJ was awesome, actually,” Kobe said. “Once I got there I had to admit, ‘Hey, this wasn’t as bad as I thought.’ I had a great time. It was just getting past all that god-awful green stuff.”
It’s hard to even imagine Kobe Bryant in a Celtic uniform, but luckily for Laker fans, he ended up in purple and gold. As Kobe’s career begins it’s last stage, it amazing to look back and think of all the memories he has created for Laker fans. He also played a major roll in breathing life into the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and leaving his imprint on one of the best rivalry in sports.