As Kobe Bryant gets ready to start in his last All-Star game this weekend in Toronto, NBA legends are sharing their stories and memories about the Laker legend. Reggie Miller explained to USA Today on why he hated Kobe Bryant as he was in Miller’s way from winning a championship as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers in the 2000 NBA Finals:
I hate him because, in 2000 when we battled for a championship, he was just too good,” Miller told USA Today. “Obviously, along with Shaq (O’Neal), that Laker team denied me from the ultimate goal in winning a championship.”
Miller later expressed his appreciation for Bryant competitiveness and how he deeply respects Bryant:
“I love him, I hate him, and I respect him,” Miller told USA Today. “I love him because, when you come in at 18 and you play 20 years at the shooting guard position, and to end it all with one (championship ring) for the thumb and the amount of minutes, points and mileage that he’s put on his baggage, that shows me a love for the game.” And I respect him for what he is doing now, because you’ve got to take a back seat. Father time catches up to all of us, and to have to be able to pass the torch and the legacy to guys like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, it’s tough for superstars to give an inch and Kobe has had to take a step back and assess what’s important to him. So I respect him giving back to these young guys and teaching them what it’s going to take to be successful in this league.”
What Miller is saying makes perfect sense and is a good assessment of Kobe’s career.