Carmelo Anthony on Saturday recalled his epic “war’ with Kobe Bryant during the 2009 Western Conference Finals when his Denver Nuggets played the l. a. Lakers. Anthony, who recently signed with the Lakers within the offseason, told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the “All The Smoke” podcast he and Bryant became close even before the 2008 Olympics. “The greatest, man,” Anthony said of the Lakers legend.
“That was the moment where I and Kob became – before that we visited the Olympics. We became very close. But we became close on some disrespectful s—. you recognize Kob, he going into your neck. He elbowing you. I had my braids some time past, too, so he touching my head. I’m like, ‘Don’t touch my head. Don’t touch me anymore, dawg.’ He’s smirking. He’s throwing his little s—t elbows, and ’09 came, and it had been like, I remember we hugged before the sport, and he was like, ‘It’s war.’ I said, ‘It’s war.
Let’s catch on. It ain’t gonna be nothing easy,’” Anthony said. “And I just remember him telling me, ‘I’ll guard you within the fourth. They ain’t gonna make no calls on me. They ain’t gonna call no s—t on me within the fourth.’ and that I wont to attempt to beat him up though. I used to be bigger than him, so I wont to attempt to beat him up, be physical with him. He comes, elbows me. I come, elbow him. He laughing, talking, ‘That’s all you got?’”
The Lakers defeated the Nuggets that year in six games. The Lakers would go onto win the NBA Finals that season – the primary since the team traded Shaquille O’Neal. In the conference finals, Bryant averaged 34 points per game and Anthony averaged 27.5 points per game.