There are a ton of stories about Kobe Bryant and his mamba mentality. Kobe was known for his hard work and the hunger for always getting better.
As a result, there were only a few players who the late NBA legend considered his friends. NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony is among the lot.
But it was not always like that. Melo had to prove his worth to Bryant before gaining his seal of approval.
Back in 2009, Kobe and Melo met each other in the Western Conference Finals. Although Bryant's Lakers ended up entering the NBA finals, the WCF was quite amazing. After all, two of the best players in the conference were going toe to toe.
Carmelo Anthony recently spoke about that matchup on the 'All The Smoke' podcast.
"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,” Carmelo started off.
“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," he added.
That was the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two superstars. As for how the series went, the Lakers ended up winning it in six games.
While Melo's journey ended here, Kobe Bryant carried his team to an NBA championship.
This was Bryant's fourth NBA ring and, more importantly, the first without his ex-teammate Shaquille O'Neal. This was a huge deal, as Kobe proved that he can carry a team on his back.
While Kobe is no longer in the world, he would have been happy to know that Carmelo will be playing for the LA Lakers this season. Do you think can Melo win his first-ever ring this season? Let us know your views in the comments section below.