The music played over and over in Kobe Bryant’s head.
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blared through the loudspeakers before and after every Boston Celtics victory at the Garden, something that became increasingly annoying for Bryant as Boston won the 2008 NBA Finals over the Lakers with a 38-point Game 6 series-clinching win.
“I remember when we were losing, they played that Journey song and the whole arena started singing,” Bryant said. “I hated that song for two years. I listened to the song every single day just to remind me of that feeling. Same thing with the Dropkick Murphys’ [“I’m Shipping Up to Boston”]. I listened to the Dropkick Murphys all the time just because I wanted to remember that feeling.”
Bryant soon sought his revenge. The Lakers beat Boston in the 2010 NBA Finals through seven games, which captured Bryant’s fifth and last NBA championship.
Who knows if Bryant will have the same routine when he makes his last visit to Boston on Wednesday at the Garden. He only revealed he plans to dine at one of his favorite undisclosed Italian restaurants and enjoy a glass of Vinocello.
But with Bryant showing the friendlier and insightful side of his personality in recent years after yet another loss, the Lakers’ 37-year-old star admitted that partly stems from exacting revenge on the Celtics.
“I’ll put it to you this way — if I lost that championship, I’d be miserable,” Bryant said. “Sitting here right now, I’d be absolutely miserable.”
So as former Celtics and current Clippers forward Paul Pierce ran up and down the court during the Lakers’ loss on Friday to the Clippers, Bryant turned to Lakers forward Metta World Peace and reflected on happier times.
“‘Metta, I’m so damn happy we won that 2010 Finals because I’d be sick as [hell] sitting here right now,'” Bryant said. “He felt the same way.”