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Kobe Bryant Took A Jab At Paul Pierce By Refusing To Have A Wheelchair Carry Him Off The Court After Tearing His Achilles

Kobe Bryant Took A Jab At Paul Pierce By Refusing To Have A Wheelchair Carry Him Off The Court After Tearing His Achilles

Kobe Bryant was the ultimate NBA warrior, there weren't many that played through as much pain and as many injuries as Kobe did. In his later years, his Achilles and his knees both had some serious issues, but Bryant did his best to play as much as he could. His single-minded determination was never more apparent than after he tore his Achilles in 2013 and walked off the court under his power after taking a couple of free throws. 

That entire episode was in stark contrast to what had happened a few seasons ago in a game that also involved Kobe and his Lakers. During Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, Paul Pierce appeared to get severely injured and had to be carried off the court by his teammates and then put in a wheelchair to go to the locker room, although the story has changed a little since. Amazingly enough, Pierce returned to the game and even made a few huge shots to help his team win. 

And according to Los Angeles Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Bryant's decision to not ask for assistance after doing his Achilles was a jab at Paul Pierce's behavior in 2008. 

"Bryant later told Vitti that him refusing a wheelchair was a purposeful jab at Paul Pierce, who was carried off the court and wheelchaired to the locker room during Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Lakers after suffering an apparent knee injury and returning minutes later.

"Upon reaching the locker room, Bryant fell apart. 'Once he got back into the training room, he literally lost his mind,' Vitti said. 'He was throwing Gatorade bottles around. If you were in there, you kind of had your head up because you might get hit with something. He was very upset. We went through the whole thing with the docs, the evaluation.'"

Bryant's heroics helped the Lakers qualify for the postseason but after the serious injury, he couldn't play in the playoffs and they were subsequently eliminated. While the age of load management and players sitting games might be good for their longevity, there is something about Kobe's never-ending competitive spirit that today's NBA players rarely seem to be able to match.