The pageantry around Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour extends beyond the court and into the media room. Kobe and Dwyane Wade faced off for the final time on Wednesday evening. After the game ended with some late-game heroics from Julius Randle, Kobe Bryant went to the podium to conduct one of his patented bilingual press conferences. While Kobe was giving a long answer in Spanish, Wade rumbled through the back of the media room to remind Kobe that they have business to attend to. Kobe’s post game pressers this season have been an event unto themselves. Wade surely won’t be the last interruption before the season is over.
During the late 2000s, Kobe and Wade wrestled for the shooting guard title belt year after year. Wade no longer dominates like he did in his prime, but Kobe remembers him as one of his toughest match-ups:
“He was a vicious competitor. He’s vicious; he’s mean. We could have those type of battles and then afterwards have a conversation and then lace them up and go right back at it. The hardest player I’ve ever had to guard in a screen and roll. He’d come off a screen and just disappear.
That’s high praise from the Black Mamba. Wade can only turn into Flash on occasions nowadays. He’ll have to take the elder statesman torch from Kobe and carry it forward.