Garnett initially had doubts about going to Boston, partially because he wanted to speak to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant before making a final decision. The Lakers were one of the team’s on Garnett’s list of preferred destinations.
However, the two were unable to speak at the time because Bryant was on a tour of China for Nike. In a profile with GQ‘s Michael Pina, Garnett revealed the first conversation he had with Bryant following his trade to the Celtics.
“‘YO, MAN, YOU WAS TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH ME?’ ‘Man, get the f— outta here.’ ‘NAH, NAH, I’M SERIOUS, MAN. I GOT THIS S— LATE, MAN. DAMN MAN.’ ‘It’s all good.’ ‘NAH, IT AIN’T GOOD, YOU IN THAT WRONG COLOR, MAN. WHAT THE F—, MAN. HOW YOU GONNA GO TO BOSTON OF ALL PLACES.’ ‘Man, nah, you gotta chill.’”
It’s clear that Bryant was definitely upset that Garnett found his way to Boston. The Lakers wound up acquiring Pau Gasol in 2008. The Celtics and Lakers ended up meeting in the NBA Finals in both 2008 and 2010. Each team won one series.
Bryant and Garnett faced off many times throughout their careers. They played a total of 76 games against each other. Bryant won 45 of those contests while Garnett won 31. Although they were fierce competitors, it’s clear that they had lots of respect for one another.
Garnett admitted that he’s “often wondered” what it would have been like to play on the same team as Bryant. After hearing the 15-time All-Star’s comments, fans across the league are certainly going to wonder the same thing.