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Last night Kobe Bryant played in his final game against Chris Paul and the Clippers and the media couldn’t help but talk about the 2011 Chris Paul to Lakers trade which was vetoed by then NBA Commissioner David Stern.
The NBA was transitioning into it’s new super team era, and the Lakers wanted to pair Paul with Kobe in a move that many feel would have made them contenders up till Kobe’s current retirement, instead Paul went to the Clippers and the Lakers franchise went downhill.
Bryant weighed in on the vetoed trade again and said that had Paul been apart of the Lakers organization right now, things would have been “very, very, very different”. The Mamba also revealed what he and Paul talked about on the phone after learning that the trade had went down. Check it out below. Via ESPN:
“You know me. My dream isn’t to win games,” Bryant recalled to ESPN this week. “It’s like, ‘How many of these titles are we going to win [together]?’ Because if we don’t win, we’re a failure.”
“It was crazy,” Paul told ESPN this week. “It was exciting. We talked about potentially being teammates and all that stuff like that. Then, in the blink of an eye, gone.”
“I knew how competitive he was, and I knew it would be a perfect fit. We just kind of talked about what we’re going to do, how we’re going to scheme to get things done. Unfortunately, it never happened.”
“When we played together in every All-Star Game, we never f—– around,” Bryant said. “It was like, ‘Listen, the guys have their fun, but now let’s do what we do.’ I knew how competitive he was, and I knew it would be a perfect fit. We just kind of talked about what we’re going to do, how we’re going to scheme to get things done. Unfortunately, it never happened.”
“Butting heads is fine,” Bryant said. “If we didn’t butt heads, we wouldn’t have won championships. There’s different variations of healthy butting heads and not healthy. [Shaquille O’Neal] and I would butt heads in a very unhealthy way, but then we figured out how to make it happen.
“But I think Chris and I are really two completely different players, and where Shaq and I really butted heads was in the work ethic, because his size and injuries prohibited him from working as hard as he could have been working. So what I used to get on him about was that. That’s what we really disagreed on — the amount of focus and physical attention that it takes to win this damn thing. And so Chris and I would never have these issues.”
“Things would’ve been very, very, very different around here,” Bryant said, “with two of the most competitive people the league has ever seen.”