During the 2000 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant injured his ankle as a result of Jalen Rose getting underneath following a jumpshot. Bryant wasn’t happy about Rose’s actions back then and Rose admitted not caring about injuring the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.
Five titles and 15 years later, Bryant and Rose talked about the incident in the Finals in an interview along with Grantland’s Bill Simmons:
Honestly, I remember that and I hadn’t forgot about it. I was waiting on my revenge.
“I don’t know if it was on purpose or if it was accidental, but it did happen and I want revenge. I was able to.”
Kobe famously got his revenge on Rose in the worst way possible. Bryant scored a career-high 81 points on Rose’s Toronto Raptors back in 2006 in one of the greatest individual performances in sports history.
Only a few years after Kobe’s 81-point game, the superstar asked the Lakers to make some moves to get this franchise back on top. Bryant became relentless in his pursuit of a fourth championship after seeing former teammate Shaquille O’Neal win a title with the Miami Heat.
Kobe’s influence on the Lakers front office resulted in Los Angeles acquiring Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. Gasol and Bryant turned out to be a lethal combination with the two stars leading the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances. Kobe won two more rings as a result and has been itching for a sixth ring ever since.
With Bryant heading into his 20th season with the Lakers, it’s highly unlikely he’ll have a shot to win that elusive sixth championship considering the state of the franchise. Despite the odds being against him and the Lakers moving forward, Bryant continues to battle through injuries and constant criticism with the end of his career drawing near.