Kobe Bryant is one of the most competitive players in the NBA, and he is not afraid to run his mouth on the court. Bryant has history of trash talking and even his teammates aren’t spared by the five-time champion. Pau Gasol has been with Kobe Bryant for two championship runs, but the Spaniard is still ridiculed by Bryant for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Kobe and his teammates on the “Redeem Team” beat Gasol and Spain in the Gold Medal match, 118-107, restoring USA’s dominance over world basketball. In that game, Kobe Bryant came through in the clutch for Team USA and put away the Spanish team in the final minutes.
The 2008 Spain team was very talented and had chances to win the game. Still, America came out on top and Bryant still hasn’t let Gasol or his squad forget about that day, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times.
In the locker room, Bryant constantly reminded Gasol of Team USA’s 118-107 gold-medal win over Spain in the 2008 Olympics. Bryant brought up his four-point play with 3:10 remaining, which prompted him to hold his finger to his lips. Any time Gasol interacted with his Spanish teammates after a Lakers’ game, Bryant interrupted the conversation to remind them that Team USA would defend its gold medal.
Several players from the Spanish team have made their way to the NBA including Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves) and Marc Gasol (Grizzlies). The Lakers play these Western Conference opponents often, so Kobe Bryant has been talking trash for quite some time now.
The United States will be playing Spain in an exhibition game on July 24th, a game which will spur the rivalry even more. Still, Kobe would much rather beat Gasol and Spain in a game that actually holds some significance. Spain is considered the biggest threat to Team USA’s quest for another Gold, and many expect these two teams to meet in the final match of the tournament.
However, at the end of the day Kobe and Gasol are two very close friends who have met success at the highest level of basketball. Some have suspected mistrust between the two in the past two NBA Playoffs, but hopefully their experience this summer will help patch any problems. The Lakers need their two stars to be on the same page and hopefully something like the 2012 Olympics will get them back on even terms so they can help Los Angeles win another NBA title.