The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 99-83 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant played like, well, Kobe Bryant, pumping in 48 points in the Lakers' triumph.
For 39 minutes, Bryant played like he hated the Phoenix Suns, and after the game he confirmed it.
"I don't like them, I don't like them, it is plain and simple," Bryant said. "I do not like them, they used to whoop us pretty good and used to let us know about it, and I will not forget that."
Hmm. Sounds like Kobe has a long memory and is choosing to focus on the period of time post-Shaq and pre-Gasol when the Suns owned the Lakers, going 19-8 against them and twice eliminating them from the postseason.
Because since the NBA allowed the most one-sided trade in the history of basketball and let Memphis unload All-Star Pau Gasol to the Lakers for next-to-nothing, the Lakers have turned the tables, going 15-5 against the Suns -- including the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
Bryant's comments are the type that can start wars, and wouldn't you know it, the Suns most high-profile superstar let loose in his response on Wednesday.
OK, not really.
"I don't know what to say about that, I don't know what his thought process is there," Steve Nash said following practice.
Really, Steve? That's the best you can do?
"Kobe, time and time again, has proven what he can do as a finisher and as a scorer and he's a great competitor," he a added.
A compliment? That's the verbal equivalent of Kevin Bacon getting paddled in Animal House and repeating "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"
Maybe Nash is taking the high road because he knows all Suns fans despise Bryant. Seriously, can you name another current pro athlete who is hated as much as Kobe? Nash knows that the fans will make their feelings known the next time Kobe steps foot on the hardwood at U.S. Airways Center. Unfortunately, that's not until February 19th.
Kobe's lingering hatred toward the Suns is also a twisted show of respect. Do you think Kobe hates the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Charlotte Bobcats? The Suns are one of the few teams that has been able to inflict pain on Bryant during what has been a dominant career.
And that's at least a little something to be proud of.