Just going off of personalities, it would be easy to conclude that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would have little in-common. Bryant has never been known to hold his tongue and Belichick is notoriously known for never having much to say. No way the two could ever end up friends… right?
Not if you ask Kobe. Bryant was talking with ESPNBoston’s Jackie MacMullen, and let it be known that he garnered great respect for Belichick during one of the low moments of his career. Specifically the Game 6 beat-down the Lakers took at the hands of the Boston Celtics during the 2008 NBA Finals.
Per ESPNBoston: “I’m sitting there on the bench, just beside myself, burning with frustration, and I look over and Bill Belichick is walking toward me,” Bryant said. “I had never met him. Never spoken to him. He had courtside seats across from our bench, and with 20 seconds left in the game, he came over and said, ‘Don’t you worry about this. I know what you are going through. We just lost a tough one ourselves [to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII]. Just bounce back. Be ready next year.’
“He didn’t have to say that. The clock was winding down, we were getting ready to walk off. I thought it was really cool. Respect across our professions.”
Bryant said since then, he and Belichick have talked sports when the Lakers visit Boston, and Belichick even came into the Lakers locker room last season.
“He talked to me about how he coaches the game, how he minimizes mistakes, the value of a possession,” Bryant said. “Very interesting topics.”
Interesting to see how two greats on different platforms came together and ultimately developed a friendship.
With how much success each has personally had, the respect there was probably automatic.