‘It’s All About Advantage’: Kevin Garnett Opens Up About His Strange Relationship With Kobe Bryant

Published 02/27/2021, 11:30 AM EST
Boston, Massachusettes–June 17, 2008 Lakers Kobe Bryant walks off the court as the Celtics celebrate the championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the TD Banknorth Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


As vividly as one would recollect the beef between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas, they’d also remember the rivalry that Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett shared. The Lakers and the Celtics marked a great deal of competitiveness when these two led their sides. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The juggernauts revamped that age-old Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird feeling and breathed life into the tussle between the two franchises. But how was it possible that both Kobe and KG shared such an electrifying on-court presence and a cool as ice off-court camaraderie?

Kevin Garnett attends a press conference as spokesman for Hupu.com on March 11, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Boston Celtics legend revealed the dynamics of their relation

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Last year in April, the league selected Lakers’ late hero Kobe Bryant as the first-ballot Hall of Famer with Tim Duncan (Spurs) and Kevin Garnett (Celtics). Arguably, this was one of the most legendary HoF line-ups to receive prestigious recognition in the same year. 

In an interview with South African comedian Trevor Noah, Kevin Garnett remembered that hot-and-snowy relationship with Kobe Bryant.

“I think Kobe, and I had a great balance of respect for each other. When you hit the floor as gladiators, you have respect but with the lines. But it’s free game. It’s all about advantage. You’re trying to look for that advantage every minute, every second of the game.

“And when you come off the court, it’s a lot less intense, a lot more intimate. The conversations are obviously long running and they’re in-depth. But when you’re between the lines, there are no rules, only respect. If you do not have respect, then it goes another way.”

The world remembers how Kevin Garnett pulled extraordinary defense on The Black Mamba during the NBA Finals 2008. In that playoff series, KG was the rebound and assist leader while Kobe was the point-leader.

Kevin Garnett vs Kobe Bryant: head-to-head

The two men faced each other 76 times in their career till 2016. Kobe led the regular-games 31-20 and the postseason at 14-11. In 2008, the C’s won their 17th NBA title and left a scar on the Lakers’ hopes to stretch their all-time championship numbers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, Kobe retaliated and sought his revenge in 2010 when they won the NBA Finals in Game 7 to lift their 16th franchise title. That year, Kobe made it even against Kevin Garnett and showed the Celtics’ lethal trio the backdoor. 

Even as so much happened between Kobe and KG on the court, they were always captured smiling and hugging one another off it. As KG further added, “Kobe and I had a great understanding of each other. I met him when he was very young. We started off when we were young in the relationship, and we kept that throughout our whole times in the league. So it’s only right that we go in the Hall together.”

Their career timelines totally overlap, and that proves how the universe wanted them to share a great relationship. In KG’s memoir, A to Z: An Uncensored Encyclopedia, you can read more about the details of his life. If you already have read it, let us know your review in the comments.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Read also – From Vince Carter to Shaquille O’Neal: Five NBA Players Who Were Able to School Kobe Bryant

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Sourabh Singh

1125 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT