In Kevin Garnett's new memoir, "From KG: A TO Z: An Uncensored Encyclopedia of Life, Basketball, and Everything in Between," the former NBA superstar gave the world an inside look into his life and some of his best moments on the basketball court.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the entire piece features some words on Kobe Bryant. Reflecting on his relationship with the basketball legend, Garnett told the story of the first time he and Bryant met -- during his rookie year, after a game against the 76ers.
We first met in Philly, the Spectrum, my rookie season. I liked the Spectrum because the lighting was dark and dramatic. I had a decent game, came off the floor, and when I walked into the locker room, there he was, sitting on my stool.
After getting off Garnett's locker-room seat, a young Kobe railed KG with questions about what it was like being a rookie in the NBA.
"Whassup, KG," he said. "I'm Kobe."
"Whassup," I shot back. "But why is yo ass in my seat? Get the f--k outta my seat."
He jumped up right quick, and we had a little chuckle. He was super animated, boisterous as a little boy. He was lit. I could see the spit on his words coming off his voice. He came at me straight ahead. We were teenagers. He was 17. I was 19. I was already in. He was a year away from getting in. He was fixing to do what I'd done—go straight from high school to the draft—so right away we related. Never had met nobody with so many questions. One tumbling out after another.
"Is it really as aggressive as it looks out there?"
"Hell, yes, it's aggressive."
"Is it rough being a rook?"
"Rough as f--k."
"How do you mean?"
"It's about paying dues. About standing up to vets who see you as a threat. About getting your ass kicked. About standing your ground."
"You got a crew? You got your people?"
"I got my people, but I'm a to-myself kinda dude. I can feel you're more a people person."
Kobe Bryant was always a student of the game. From his pre-NBA days to his time lighting it up with the Lakers, he learned and adapted to stay at the top of his game. It's really no surprise to hear that Kobe was so eager to learn from someone that he clearly looked up to.
Needless to say, all that hard work paid off. Through 20 years in the league, Kobe was an 18x All-Star, 5x NBA Champion, and 2x Olympic gold medalist.
Even after his death last year, Bryant's legacy has carried on, and he has become an inspiration for countless fans around the world.