“I’m Not Ducking S**t”: When Kobe Bryant Went to the Extremes to Challenge and Play Against Vince Carter

Published 06/28/2020, 3:30 PM EDT


After the NBA’s announcement, Atlanta Hawks shooting guard, Vince Carter got retired from professional basketball. His 22-year career record finally came to an end.

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Carter played in the same era as Kobe Bryant back at the beginning of the 00s. It was observed how the duo balanced respect and compassion for each other amidst rivalry.

One of the last exclusive interviews of Kobe was in 2019 with Pat-Bet David. And the Lakers legend shared some motivating thoughts back then which included an incident of playing against Vince Carter.

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Those who know Kobe as a player will also know his dedication and moving spirit for basketball. Talking about sitting on the bench due to injuries, the five-time champion said, “There are a lot of people paying their hard-earned money to come watch you. It’s your job to be in shape, it’s your job to be strong enough to perform at that level every single night.”

It’s not surprising to hear that from the Mamba after all these of hard work he has put in. His dominance in the game was a reflection of his constant motivation to win. There were days when Kobe faced injuries and had to step up. It happened in 2000 against Carter’s Toronto Raptors. But Mamba doesn’t believe in taking a break.

Kobe Bryant was not going to back out against Vince Carter

“As a competitor, I’m not ducking sh*t. Like it’s not, ‘Oh my God my back hurts, I’m sore. We got to play Vince Carter and Toronto Raptors tonight,” he added. “Vince was tearing the league up. My back was jacked. But like the perception of that. Like what? ‘Kobe’s missing the game against Toronto, Vince Carter…But people will be like, ‘What? Oh, he’s ducking Vince.’ Excuse me? No, I don’t think so.”

The media got hyped up that Kobe was just getting away with Carter’s opposition in the game. And that clearly wasn’t the case. Kobe’s killer mentality did work for him at that time.

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“So I’ll be in the layup line like, ‘Ok, there’s going to be a lot of days where you know you can rest and recover. Today ain’t one of them. Your back can bother you any other day. That shit ain’t bothering me today. He (Vince Carter) gonna have to see me today.” Kobe narrated.

The 41-year old’s recent demise was a saddening moment in the world of NBA. Vince Carter himself had expressed how he felt after Kobe passed away. “I wasn’t ready for it,” he said. “Last time I cried was family passing. But he was family.”

Carter has played across eras in the NBA, but Kobe Bryant saying, “Best dunker I’ve ever seen” is a big deal. Moreover, the two played against each other on numerous occasions but the respect remains totally intact.

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Hawks teammate, Kyle Lowry also posted on Instagram quoting emotional words on Carter’s retirement. “Thank you for being YOU!! You’ve been an inspiration to a generation…You deserve everything that will be coming to you in the future!! 15forever!!!”

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Pavni Ahuja

330 articles

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