Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant are both greats from the 00s, winning multiple championships and establishing their names among the best guards to ever play in the NBA. The duo had a lot of similarities; both could score in bunches and be extremely quick in their primes, making several All-Star games in their best years in the league.
The two repeatedly came up against one another during the regular season, with some fierce battles between them. But funnily enough, the roughest altercation between them occurred during the 2012 All-Star Game. The All-Star Game is usually an extremely calm affair, with players focused on putting on a show, but Wade's foul on Kobe in 2012 resulted in a nasal fracture for the Mamba.
And while many superstars would have been angry and ready to fight as soon as something like this happened to them, Kobe's response was an instant classic. Speaking to Kevin Garnett in 2019 about the exchange, Wade revealed what Kobe had to say after the foul (via For The Win).
“Me and Kob’ got into a little tussle in the All-Star Game, and I ended up hitting him the wrong way and breaking his nose. … So after the All-Star break, we got the Lakers about three games after the break … I call him, not maliciously. I didn’t maliciously do it. I called him and said ‘Yo Kob” and he was like ‘Bro, I love it.’ I’m like [taken aback.] He’s like ‘I love it. I’ll see you in a couple days.’ And I’m like ‘Oh snap.’ And he gave it to me, too, boy.”
The story is an excellent example of the competitive spirit Bryant brought to the game, which led to him being as popular as he was. Kobe never backed down from a challenge, and if someone knocked him on his back, he was ready to get back up and do battle once again. His influence looms large on the NBA, evidenced by the homages young stars today pay to him. Kobe's battles with the greatest players of his generation won't be forgotten anytime soon.