Kobe Bryant Weighs In on All Things Boston

ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan gets the Lakers star to open up.

There’s no NBA writer in the country who does a better job of getting players to open up than ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan. Her old boss at the Globe, sports editor Joe Sullivan, told me in December that Paul Pierce once warned Kevin Garnett about MacMullan. “Pierce told him, ‘Don’t talk to Jackie,’” Sullivan said. Actually, that was a compliment. After all, an interview conducted by MacMullan is usually more revealing than most.

This week, she cracked Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who weighed in on a variety of Boston-related things, including Rajon Rondo. Bryant gushed about the injured Celtics point guard.

“You don’t want Rondo? Send him my way,” Kobe declared. “I love everything about him. Everything. I love his attitude, I love his chippiness, his edge, his intellect, his know-it-allness. All of it. That’s what makes championship players.

“What guard have you seen at his size that will get you 18 assists, 17 boards and 20 points all in one game? That’s unheard of. I love that kid. I always make a point of talking to him during All-Star [Weekend]. He’s one of my favorites.”

The phrase “know-it-allness” is perfect. “Takes one to know one, I guess,” my brother said to me this morning. That’s the thing: it’s easy to hate Kobe for being petulant. But aren’t most NBA superstars? Larry Bird sometimes was. Rondo occasionally fits that description. But I digress.

Bryant goes on to talk about his relationship with Bill Belichick—seems like a natural partnership—who Kobe said consoled him as the Celtics crushed the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. He also tells a story about working out for Boston before the 1996 draft. Alas, that year the Celtics picked Antoine Walker.

Anyway, go read MacMullan's column. It’s worth your time, even if you despise Kobe.