Kobe Bryant traveled to Oakland to play professional basketball there for the last time when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Golden State Warriors last Thursday, but the bigger story surrounding the game was the relationship between Bryant and Warriors consultant Jerry West.
West was a legendary player for the Lakers and eventually brought the team success as a general manager as well, helping build the "Showtime" Lakers with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But West's most impressive feat as an executive would come later, when he traded Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, a little known 17-year old named Kobe Bryant.
The move not only cleared salary that the team later used to sign Shaquille O'Neal, but gave the Lakers arguably the best player in the history of the franchise in Bryant, who helped raise five banners over 20 years in Los Angeles. West praised Bryant in a pregame press conference held at Oracle arena last week, but thanks to a clip from tonight's episode of Backstage Lakers, we can see the conversation between Bryant and West before the game as well, in which West tells Bryant "I love you like a son" in a heartfelt moment (around the 50 second mark of the clip):
Seeing that two of the men most responsible for the Lakers' success over the past two decades still have such a positive relationship has to be a heartwarming sight for Lakers fans. To see the entirety of the behind-the-scenes look at Kobe's final trip to the Bay Area (and Roy Hibbert's paintball adventures), tune in to Backstage Lakers tonight at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.