On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers squared off against the Memphis Grizzlies for the last time this season. It would mark the final time Kobe Bryant and Tony Allen would go head-to-head, and despite an impressive 27-point performance by Allen, the Lakers were able to pull out the win at the Staples Center.
Following the loss to the Lakers, Allen was asked about his lasting memories of his battles with Bryant. The veteran guard expressed nothing but respect for his longtime rival and praised him for keeping his word about giving him a pair of his game-worn shoes:
“I love everything he brought to this game,” Allen said of Bryant after the loss to the Lakers. “I respect him. He is a man of his word. He gave me his shoes. He’s going out in style. I can tell you that. Salute to the Mamba.”
Earlier this year, Bryant dubbed Allen the best defender he’s ever faced. There’s definitely a mutual respect between two as Kobe nears the end of his 20-year run in the NBA.
After recording the team’s 15th win of the season on Tuesday, the Lakers will go on the road to face the division rival Phoenix Suns in the second game of a back-to-back. Although Bryant has been battling soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder, the five-time NBA champion said he’s “absolutely” playing on Wednesday night for his final game in Phoenix.
Following Wednesday’s matchup against the Suns, Bryant will have 11 games left in his NBA career. The Lakers will take on the visiting Denver Nuggets on Friday night in Los Angeles before facing the Washington Wizards on Sunday at the Staples Center.