Kobe Bryant Once Shaded Paul Pierce After Serious Injury

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Los Angeles Lakers great and basketball icon Kobe Bryant couldn’t resist firing a shot at then-Boston Celtics leader Paul Pierce, even after suffering a torn ACL back in 2013.

As the story goes, Bryant, fully invested in the Boston-Los Angeles rivalry, suffered the injury midway through a game against the Golden State Warriors, which rewarded the five-time NBA Finals champ with two free-throw attempts. Bryant, shooting while with a torn left Achilles, drained both free throws and refused any assistance back to the Lakers locker room.

When asked whether or not Byrant wanted a wheelchair, by ex-Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Bryant dropped an explicit Pierce diss in response:

“(Expletive), Paul Pierce,” Bryant told Vitti, per Mark Medina of Sportskeeda.

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Pierce, of course, has been at the center of one of the biggest all-time NBA conspiracy theories. During Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, in which Pierce squared off against Bryant and the Lakers, Pierce suffered a third-quarter knee injury, requiring a wheelchair and assistance off the floor.

However, many don’t believe that’s exactly what went down in Boston.

Non-believers feel as though Pierce instead suffered an in-game accident that required an emergency change of shorts. Yet, even years later, Pierce has denied those rumors, leaving the truth up for speculation.

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As for Bryant, that injury signaled the beginning of the end for one of the most dominant forces in NBA history. Bryant underwent a rough sendoff into retirement, playing in just 41 games — or half a season — for the next seasons before toughening out one final 66-game run in 2015-16.

Five years later, following his tragic passing, Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

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