Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have represented two of the greatest NBA franchises in history. Bryant played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, whereas Garnett played for the Celtics from 2007 to 2013. Both players were able to win MVPs and NBA championships throughout their careers and were perennial All-Stars.
Bryant and Garnett even faced each other in two NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010. Garnett won in 2008, whereas Kobe got the win in 2010. KG and Kobe were rivals during their time in the West and when they were facing off in the NBA Finals. But that almost wasn't the case.
Kevin Garnett revealed in his memoir that he wanted to team up with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. KG had been in Minnesota since 1995 and was looking for a team that could match his championship aspirations. So in 2007, Garnett made the call to Bryant to find out if he would be interested in teaming up together.
But Kobe didn't pick up. So he called again. And again. And he kept calling multiple times. Garnett even reached out to mutual friend Tyronn Lue to get in touch with Bryant. But he never heard from Bryant. So after multiple attempts from KG, he gave up and stopped calling him.
KG later found out that Bryant was in China. But did say that he could receive his text messages, and didn't have a reason not to see the messages Garnett dropped him.
“I wanted to get Kob’s take on whether he thought his Lakers were right for me. I called him. No answer. Called a second time. No answer. Checked my phone to make sure I had the right number: Bean Bryant. Go over the digits carefully. Yes, sir, that’s the number. Let me try this again. Fifth time. Sixth. Before calling the 14th time, I asked my wife, “Should I try him again?” “Yes,” she said. “It’s your future.” I even asked Tyronn Lue, who was close to both of us, to get him to holler at me, but Bean never did. After my 20th time, I figured enough was enough. Only later did I learn that he was in China for a long while. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t getting messages.”
Garnett eventually was traded to the Celtics, where he formed a big three with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The Celtics would beat Kobe and the Lakers in the NBA Finals that very season. So KG got some measure of revenge on Bryant.
One can only imagine what a partnership between Bryant and Garnett would have been like. The two were the most dominant players in the Western Conference, aside from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki at the time. So it only stands to reason that them pairing up would have made them title contenders.