Kobe Bryant once tore a Paul Pierce photo out of a newspaper and then used one word to foreshadow his eventual revenge.
Kobe Bryant once tore a Paul Pierce photo out of a newspaper and then used 1 word to foreshadow his eventual revenge.
If you’re reading this article on Kobe Bryant, you’re probably aware of how fiercely competitive the Los Angeles Lakers great was during his legendary NBA career. He aspired to win as frequently as possible and put in a lot of effort to achieve his goals.
There were, however, occasions when he fell short. In reality, Bryant and the Lakers just missed capturing an NBA title in the 2008 playoffs, losing in six games to the Boston Celtics.
That deficiency, however, spurred Bryant for the following several seasons, and not long after the series finished, the future Hall of Famer tore a Paul Pierce photo out of a newspaper and uttered one phrase, alluding to the vengeance he would ultimately exact on the Celtics legend.
In the 2008 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were defeated by the Celtics.
Bryant put in a lot of effort after the Lakers parted ways with Shaquille O’Neal in 2004 to show he could win championships without him.
During the regular season of 2007-08, it seemed as if he was finally going to show the world that he could accomplish it, as the Lake Show acquired big man Paul Gasol. The squad went on to go 57-25 that season, earning the Western Conference’s top seed.
During the playoffs, LA ran through the rest of the Western Conference. In the first round, Kobe and his teammates swept the Denver Nuggets, then defeated the Utah Jazz in six games in the conference semifinals before defeating the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the Western Conference Finals.
In the NBA Finals, however, the Lakers met the Celtics, and they had the tough task of attempting to stop their Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.
Bryant, of course, put on a show throughout the series, averaging 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game, but Pierce, Garnett, and Allen were too much for him. As previously stated, the Celtics won the series in six games to win the championship.
The Mamba, on the other hand, did not just give up and give up hope.
To presage his vengeance, the Lakers legend tore out a photo of Paul Pierce and uttered one word.
On June 12, 2008, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers guards Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals. | Getty Images/Stephen Dunn
Bryant competed at the Olympics later that summer after losing in the finals. Bryant also bumped across members of the women’s Team USA team, including WNBA icon Sue Bird, while in the player’s lounge.
Bird stated on the Aug. 20, 2020 edition of The Old Man and the Three podcast, “He walked in, sat down, poured himself a glass, and he was sort of reading a paper.” “… So he opens the paper, and there’s this story about [the finals] with a photo of Paul Pierce.”
The next thing Bryant did was the most Mamba thing ever.
She said, “We look over, and he’s ripping off the photo of Paul Pierce.” “Then he cuts it out, folds it up, and tucks it into his pocket. And we’re all staring at him, like, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
Bryant then uttered one word that foretold what was to come: “inspiration.”
The tale of Bird’s time in Kobe didn’t stop there. He then drank two glasses of wine, according to her, before glancing at them and stating, “Now, I’m one ahead of you guys.”
Bryant went on to win a lot of things after that drinking challenge. He took use of the “motive” to exact vengeance.
Paul Pierce and the Celtics were avenged by Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
In 2009, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Orlando Magic in five games to win the championship.
They returned to the series for the third year in a row in 2010, this time facing Pierce and the Celtics.
The 2010 NBA Finals were a back-and-forth battle that ended up being seven games long. Bryant finally got his two-year-long vengeance in the last game, as the Lakers defeated the Celtics 83-79. With 28.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game, he won his fifth title and second Finals MVP award.
Bryant’s reputation as one of the best of all time was reinforced by his victory. But it also helped him revenge a heartbreaking defeat two seasons before, as he carried out a strategy he devised during the 2008 Olympics and utilized that “motivation” to win.
Bryant’s fifth championship provided more than just a boost to his reputation; it also allowed him and the Lakers to avenge their archrivals.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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