Back in 2010, Metta World Peace won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers while playing alongside Kobe Bryant. World Peace quickly became a fan favorite in Los Angeles and a close friend of Kobe Bryant’s.
Before signing with the Lakers, World Peace had been a rival of Bryant’s with many wondering whether they’d get along as teammates in Los Angeles. World Peace and Bryant had altercations on the basketball floor on more than one occasion with their competitiveness getting overly physical at times. Although there were some concerns, Bryant and World Peace hit it off as teammates with a mutual respect that developed between the two veterans.
In a recent interview with VladTV, World Peace was asked about the difference between playing with and against Bryant throughout his NBA career. World Peace claims there is no difference, transcription via Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders.
What’s the difference [between] playing with Kobe or against him?” World Peace pondered. “Nothing. He’s just so competitive. You can feel the fire when you’re in the room with Kobe. It’s really cool. When I played against him, I just felt the heat. Whether he’s playing against me, LeBron James or Gerald Wallace, he feels the same. He don’t care and it’s the same thing when you play on his team. He feels the same way, so there’s really no difference.”
Bryant has received a lot of criticism as of late for a number of different reasons. Kobe has been accused of being the main reason free agents don’t want to come to Los Angeles, and now he’s struggling to return to form on the basketball floor. It has been one thing after another, but World Peace still fully supports his teammate regardless of the situation.
I’m really happy to be here to support him. Everybody is talking bad about him. Talking about he’s getting old and can’t play, [how he’s] selfish this and selfish that. [Free agents] not coming to play with him because they’re afraid of him. So I said, you know what? Let me get back to the Lakers. People don’t realize I’m on a non-guaranteed contract and I got back to the Lakers. I had to earn this.
“But I definitely want to be there for Kobe and support him. Hopefully I can ride it out with him. Kind of like I said, [I’ll] be there through thick and through thin. Kobe got me my [championship] ring. Without Kobe, I don’t have my ring. I’ve seen him take over games by himself.”
It hasn’t been pretty for Bryant and company over the course of the first six games of the season. The team shows flashes of promise with Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jordan Clarkson providing hope for the future. Unfortunately, the team has only won one game in six thus far with no telling when or if it’ll turn around moving forward.
World Peace and Bryant will get back to work on Tuesday night with the Lakers continuing their road trip in South Beach against the Miami Heat. Los Angeles will play two more games on the road after taking on the Heat before heading back to the Staples Center on Sunday to face the visiting Detroit Pistons.