The Ray Allen-Kobe Feud

There are so many great story lines for the NBA Finals, but one that is about to explode is the odd little beef between Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant. In the old days this would be one of those insider deals, the details only remembered by those with long institutional memories. But we have the internet now to do our remembering for us.

Let’s start at the end.

The blog Lex Nihli Novi has video from earlier this year when Lamar Odom made a beeline toward Allen and knocked him into the stands. At the time, it seemed like Odom had temporarily lost his mind, but maybe there was something else going on.

Flash back to 2004. The Lakers have just traded Shaquille O’Neal to Miami and are going to start over with Kobe as the undisputed alpha male of the locker room. Allen, still in his prime as Seattle’s top scorer, had a history of good games against Kobe. Naturally, the Seattle press asked Ray-Ray about Kobe’s new status as King of Los Angeles, and naturally, Allen had an interesting quote.

“He’s going to be very selfish,” Allen said of Bryant, who scored 15 of his team’s first 20 points and had 35 points in Tuesday’s loss. “And he feels like he needs to show this league and the people in this country that he is better without Shaq. He can win championships without Shaq. So offensively, he’s going to jump out and say, ‘I can average 30 points. I can still carry the load on this team.’

Hmmm, tell us more Ray.

“If Kobe doesn’t see he needs two and a half good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship in about a year or two he’ll be calling out to Jerry Buss that ‘We need some help in here,’ or ‘Trade me,’ ” Allen said. “And we’ll all be saying, ‘I told you so,’ when he says that.”

Wow. Pretty much exactly what happened at the end of last year.

Apprised of Allen’s statements, Kobe reportedly told Allen, “I’ll see you again.” And later, according to a report in the Seattle Times, Kobe called Allen and told him “I’m going to bust your ass.” Asked about the call, Kobe responded: “Don’t even put me and dude in the same breath.”

Who needs Kevin McHale and Kurt Rambis?

Hat tip to Celtics blog for a good number of the links.