With the Los Angeles Lakers traveling to face the Boston Celtics, it will mark the final time Kobe Bryant plays at the TD Garden.
While both franchises are currently rebuilding, it will be interesting to see what kind of reception the five-time champion receives in his farewell tour.
As Kobe is set to play his final game in Boston, there was an opportunity for the franchise to select him with their sixth overall pick back in the 1996 NBA Draft. While workouts went well, the Celtics ultimately selected Antoine Walker out of Kentucky instead of the high schooler.
While Kobe was a long-time Lakers fan, he would have tried to carry on Larry Bird’s legacy had the Celtics drafted him according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“I would’ve tried to carry on Bird’s legacy,” Bryant says without hesitation. “Absolutely. I would’ve done it with a tremendous amount of pride and honor.”
Although Walker averaged 17.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists during his 13-year career, it is interesting to think about how Kobe’s career would have played out if he was a member of the Celtics. However, in a time where only big men came out of high school, the Lakers traded center Vlade Divac and took a chance on a high school guard.
During his career, Kobe has been part of five championship teams while the Celtics have only been able to win one. While he is at peace with his decision to retire at the end of the season, winning another championship would have tied the Lakers with their rivalry.