espn“I’m sitting there on the bench, just beside myself, burning with frustration, and I look over and Bill Belichick is walking toward me,” Kobe recalled. “I had never met him. Never spoken to him. He had courtside seats across from our bench, and with 20 seconds left in the game, he came over and said, ‘Don’t you worry about this. I know what you are going through. We just lost a tough one ourselves [to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII]. Just bounce back. Be ready next year.’ “He didn’t have to say that. The clock was winding down, we were getting ready to walk off. I thought it was really cool. Respect across our professions.” Since then, Belichick and Bryant habitually have talked shop when Kobe comes to Boston. Last season, Belichick visited the Lakers’ locker room and shared some pearls of coaching wisdom. “He talked to me about how he coaches the game, how he minimizes mistakes, the value of a possession,” Kobe reported. “Very interesting topics.” In spite of his newfound respect for the HC of the New England Patriots, Kobe said he hasn’t switched pro football allegiances. “No, I’m an Eagles fan, for better or for worse,” he said. “I”ve got my fingers crossed that this Chip Kelly dude will work out.” Asked if Belichick would be visiting with him on Thursday, Bryant answered, “I’m hoping Gronk will be there. I like him. He seems to perform at a high level every time out. Last time we were in town we talked for a little bit. He was a fun guy.

Gotta be rough when your favorite team’s all time greatest coach and personal sports savior admits to having a great relationship with your biggest sports rival. Or was it LeBron? Oh it’s Kobe now? Okay…even better.

I can imagine it now: Bill and Kobe sharing a banana split in the ice cream parlor sharing tales of sports dominance. Laughing about how sweaty Paul Pierce gets or why Peyton Manning sucks in the playoffs.  ”Oops, Bill, you dropped a little on your hoodie. Let me get that for you.”

While Pres is worried about his beloved football coach sharing many of the same personality traits as The Mamba, to many of us it makes perfect sense. Greatness recognizes greatness. And even if Billy B is a signal-taping cheater who hasn’t won a Super Bowl since the League took his cameras, Kobe’s a big enough man to still respect him as one of the best ever. Match made in friendship heaven.

Cue the music!


Zack Attack – Friends Forever