Friday night's game between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers marks the 78th time that future NBA Hall-of-Famers Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan face off on an NBA court.
Duncan's Spurs have won 27 of 48 regular-season matchups with Bryant's Lakers, but it's Kobe who holds a 4-2 playoff series advantage. Regardless, it's a long history that has had plenty of great moments on both sides.
However, that hasn't translated to a close friendship - at least not yet.
"I would say we're – friendly sounds really weak – but whenever we get a chance to be around each other, we always looking forward to talking," Bryant said, via Sam Amick of USA Today. "All-Star games were always a good time. We'd always find time to talk when we're near each other, and Tony and Manu as well. Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) too. I always make a point to spend about 15, 20 minutes with Pop just talking to him. I've learned quite a bit from him."
The competitor in Bryant, however, has a bit of envy when it comes to San Antonio's prolonged level of success.
"Part of me (is jealous), maybe a little bit, but the situation's different," Bryant said. "They've had consistency, had a core group, and we haven't. We've had our ups and downs, but we've turned it around pretty damned quickly and we've managed to compete and win championships, so you can't complain. There are different ways to skin a cat. They've done it that way with consistency, and we do it this way. It is what it is."
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