“We Did Not Like Each Other”: NBA Hall of Famer Details His Relationship With Kobe Bryant

Published 09/14/2020, 7:15 AM EDT
Lakers at Wizards March 7, 2012


The NBA Draft 1996 was groundbreaking in every possible way. It introduced the world to the likes of Allen Iverson (1st pick), Ray Allen (5th), Kobe Bryant (13th), Steve Nash (15th), and Derek Fisher (24th), among others. It’s still hard to believe that the first five teams or even the first ten teams didn’t pick The Black Mamba. Only the Lakers’ were fortunate as they got him traded from the Charlotte Hornets.

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Meanwhile, rivalries brewed between many of these legendary players. One such rivalry was between Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant. Ray played for 17 seasons while Kobe played for 19 seasons in the NBA, and they got locked in against one another on many occasions.

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Ray Allen vs Kobe Bryant

In a recent podcast, Allen, 45, discussed a range of topics. He also touched upon his relationship with Kobe Bryant, where he revealed some interesting things. Mr. Basketball expressed, “We did not like each other. You know Kobe and I, we always went at each other every chance we got. I appreciate, like Kobe, I knew every time I shot the ball over him, he was gonna come back down, he was gonna shoot. It was always back-and-forth between he and I.”

Ray then detailed how he truly wanted the Seattle Supersonics to win an NBA Championship. Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma and became Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. He believed they could have made bigger if they had had the resources. Ray then concluded, “One year we made it to the second round against San Antonio [Spurs], we played a game of 6. It was a great time, and we surprised a lot of people that year, I think it was in 2006. It’s almost what propelled me and prepared me for what I expected to face when I got to Boston. It was like I was apprenticing and ironically I am in 2008 now playing against Kobe. All those battles prepared me for what was going to come later on.”

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The two legends: Head-to-head

These two NBA greats played against each other in 50 odd games. Out of these, Kobe Bryant led the regular-season meeting 23-14 but trailed the playoffs meeting 6-7. They met each other twice during the NBA Finals. In 2008, Ray’s Celtics took the title by 4-2. In that season, Ray averaged 15.6 points, 3.8 rebs, and 2.7 assists. Have a look at this clip from the 2010 NBA finals-

In 2010, Kobe’s Lakers defeated the Celtics in a Game 7 thriller to lift the championship. In that season, Kobe had an amazing average of 29.2 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals. 

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These two definitely bettered each other’s game every time they faced one another.

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Sourabh Singh

1439 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.

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