There are so many great story lines for the NBA Finals, but one that is about to explode is the odd little beef between Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant. In the old days this would be one of those insider deals, the details only remembered by those with long institutional memories. But we have the internet now to do our remembering for us.
Let’s start at the end.
The blog Lex Nihli Novi has video from earlier this year when Lamar Odom made a beeline toward Allen and knocked him into the stands. At the time, it seemed like Odom had temporarily lost his mind, but maybe there was something else going on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkmzK7zXqpQ
Flash back to 2004. The Lakers have just traded Shaquille O’Neal to Miami and are going to start over with Kobe as the undisputed alpha male of the locker room. Allen, still in his prime as Seattle’s top scorer, had a history of good games against Kobe. Naturally, the Seattle press asked Ray-Ray about Kobe’s new status as King of Los Angeles, and naturally, Allen had an interesting quote.
“He’s going to be very selfish,” Allen said of Bryant, who scored 15 of his team’s first 20 points and had 35 points in Tuesday’s loss. “And he feels like he needs to show this league and the people in this country that he is better without Shaq. He can win championships without Shaq. So offensively, he’s going to jump out and say, ‘I can average 30 points. I can still carry the load on this team.’
Hmmm, tell us more Ray.
“If Kobe doesn’t see he needs two and a half good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship in about a year or two he’ll be calling out to Jerry Buss that ‘We need some help in here,’ or ‘Trade me,’ ” Allen said. “And we’ll all be saying, ‘I told you so,’ when he says that.”
The next day, Kobe shrugged off Allen's comments. At the time he was fighting off the words Phil Jackson had written in his soon-to-be-released book. Kobe did say he called Allen's cell phone and left a message, but Allen said he did not get the message because he had changed cell phone numbers.
I remember that. The Lakers played Seattle in the preseason that year. And Kobe called Ray Allen before the game and said "I'm gonna bust ur ass". It was in the news, lol.
yeah, it was a preseason game though and ray had a bad back and sat out the game.
But 10 days later, on the eve of the Lakers' and Sonics' second preseason game, Riverside Press Enterprise reporter Brad Turner encountered Kobe in the Lakers locker room. Turner said Kobe was completely amiable when he walked in, looking over and saying, "What's up, BT?"
Then Turner, doing his job, asked Kobe about Allen. Kobe's demeanor changed immediately.
"Don't even put me and that dude in the same breath," Kobe barked.
The next night, at the San Diego Arena, Allen sat out of the game because of a sore lower back (more on that below), taking the air out of what was the anticipated matchup.
Still, during the game, when Kobe found himself in front of the Sonics' bench during a dead ball, he walked over to Allen and sneered, "I'll see you again." Bryant then said something that was indecipherable, ending it with "talking all that (trash)." Jerome James stood up for Allen, telling Bryant to "go (expletive) yourself," which prompted Lamar Odom to say to James, "He started it though. You know he started it."
Kobe doesn’t see he needs two and a half good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship……In about a year or two he’ll be calling out to Jerry Buss 'We need some help in here' or 'Trade Me'