Kobe Bryant won five NBA Championships in seven Finals appearances during his storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, the battles that seem to be remembered most are those against the hated Boston Celtics.
The Lakers-Celtics rivalry stretches back to the early days of the NBA and the two meetings Kobe had were extremely intense. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games in 2008, but Kobe and the Lakers returned the favor in 2010 in a memorable seven-game series.
That went down as the fifth and final NBA title that Bryant won in his 20-year career. Because of the storied history between the teams and Kobe growing up a Lakers fan, he’s most proud of that 2010 championship.
Bryant explained to Chris McGee on the latest ‘Connected With…’ episode just how important getting revenge on the Celtics was for him, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“The Celtics one (favorite NBA title). Not just because it was the hardest one to get but also being a Laker fan, there’s no greater feeling or dream than facing the Celtics in the Finals. We came up short in ’08, so now it was like the Basketball Gods were smiling down upon us all, because now we finally get a chance to get revenge. It would’ve been really painful for me to retire and not be able to have revenge on the Celtics. I know the history of the Lakers and Celtics, and I don’t want to be one of those players that was a Laker great that lost to the Celtics and never had a chance to redemption. So that Finals to me was the most important one.”
Lakers legends Jerry West and Elgin Baylor never were able to get that victory over the Celtics who defeated them in multiple Finals. West eventually got his title, but it came against the New York Knicks.
Considering the kind of competitor Kobe is, not being able to get that win back would have definitely bothered him forever. It offered him a final accomplishment in a career that saw several wins against the likes of the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs, among others.
The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports and whenever the two teams meet in another Finals all of those feelings will come back.
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