A flood of emotions could hit Kobe Bryant soon. This time, the sentiments will prove much deeper than soaking in one of his last remaining games in his 20th and final NBA season.
When the Lakers (9-38) host the Chicago Bulls (25-19) on Thursday at Staples Center, Bryant and Pau Gasol will square off against each other for the time since he left the Lakers nearly two years ago.
That sparked Bryant to express gratitude over Gasol helping him win two NBA championship and make three NBA Finals appearances during his 6½ seasons with the Lakers after the franchise acquired him in February of 2008 in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.Bryant called Gasol a “fantastic player” and “one of the best post players of all time.” But Bryant also argued “the city of LA didn’t really appreciate” Gasol’s contributions partly because of reduced roles under Mike Brown (2011-12) and Mike D’Antoni (2012-14) and being connected to endless trade talk.
“Everybody kind of fell in line with the Mike D’Antoni rhetoric of small ball and all this other [expletive],” Bryant said. “For a guy that has two championships to be treated that way, you don’t do that, man.”