On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers faced off against the division rival Sacramento Kings for a fourth and final time this season. Rajon Rondo’s Kings prevailed and pulled off the first regular-season sweep in franchise history.
Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant wasn’t in attendance to face the Kings or to say goodbye to a close friend in Rondo. Despite Bryant not being at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Rondo was asked about his former rival and to describe him in one word. Rondo, as usual, decided to go his way and chose to describe Kobe with two words via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
“Competitor,” Rondo said. “Ultimate competitor — two words.”
Although Bryant and Rondo had a memorable confrontation on the floor during the 2010 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Boston Celtics, the two veterans have nothing but respect for one another. Rondo went into detail about why he believes Bryant is such a great competitor, via Holmes:
“One of the best competitors of all time that I’ve ever played against,” said Rondo, whose Celtics beat Bryant’s Lakers in 2008 and fell to them in 2010. “Even watching him against LeBron [James] the other day, [Bryant] might be of age, when it’s time to compete and the lights are on, he always shows up … even when he didn’t play well.”
Only 14 games remain in Bryant’s farewell season with the Lakers playing the majority of those games in front of their home crowd at the Staples Center. Only six of the remaining 14 games will be road games with one of them taking place at Staples against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers will be back on the floor at home on Friday night with the team playing host to the visiting Phoenix Suns. Bryant and company will then have the weekend off before facing the Memphis Grizzlies on March 22 in Los Angeles.