“Beat Him Up”: Carmelo Anthony Reveals Nasty On-Court Banter With Kobe Bryant

Published 08/19/2021, 10:38 AM EDT
Nuggets Carmelo Anthony and Lakers Kobe Bryant in Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center in Denver Monday April 28, 2008. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


It’s been more than a decade now, the situation for the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets hasn’t changed much. While the Lakers continue to be one of the most elite teams and a fan favorite, the Nuggets also have a solid roster that doesn’t deserve to be called the underdogs. Such was the case back when Kobe Bryant played for the purple and gold and Carmelo Anthony was part of the Denver Nuggets. The two had developed a friendship like no other and it all started when the two locked horns during the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

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How Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony elbowing each other turned into a friendship

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Before entering the WCF, both these teams had different journeys in the playoffs. Melo was keeping an 8-2 record during the first two series in the postseason. However, Kobe and Co. had to struggle a little to get here. They defeated the Utah Jazz in Game 5 but the Houston Rockets dragged the series to a Game 7 which they eventually won.

But once Kobe and Melo got to face each other, there was a spark in the most unique way. On ‘All The Smoke’ Podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Melo opened up about their 2009 battle and how it helped develop an unexpected friendship.

He started off, “09′ came. We hugged before the game. I said, ‘It’s war, it’s not going to be easy. Let’s get it! And I just remember, he [Kobe] always used to tell me, I am guarding you. They aren’t going to make any calls on me.”

“I was bigger than him, so I would just try and beat him up and be physical with him. He comes back elbowed me, I come back elbowed him. He was laughing, telling me, ‘That’s all you got?’ Just pushing my buttons to see if I was going to stand that. And that’s how we grew man, became who we are.”

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The Lakers got the best of the Nuggets

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This entire series was a tug of war, a battle to one-up the other. Kobe’s 40 points in Game 1 and 41 points in Game 3, gave them a lead despite Nuggets winning Game 2 with Carmelo’s 34 points.

However, Denver was able to tie the series by winning Game 4. Eventually, the Lakers won the next to games, with Kobe sealing the deal in Game 6 and landing a spot in the NBA Finals, sending Melo and his team packing.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the third quarter in game 3 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Friday, May 4, 2012 at Pepsi Center in Denver Colorado. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Finally, the Lakers were able to easily get past the Orlando Magic, helping Kobe win his fourth NBA championship. But Kobe won much more, and that was Carmelo Melo‘s friendship that we can safely say, lasted his lifetime.

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DIVE DEEPER

Former Lakers Teammate Reveals How Kobe Bryant’s Brutal Honesty Brought Out the Best in the Team

about 1 month ago

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Yashima Bhatia

1486 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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