Jalen Rose was a member of the legendary Fab Five Michigan team, had a 13-year NBA career where he made millions of dollars, and is now an analyst for ESPN’s NBA coverage, but for some, he will always be the guy that Kobe Bryant lit up for 81 points when Rose was on the Raptors.
The internet is always quick to remind Rose of that performance on social media, and for the most part Rose has seemingly ignored those jabs at him. However, in a commercial for a comedy Jalen vs. Everybody that will be on ESPN, Rose steers into the skid in a phenomenal commercial opposite Kobe Bryant.
Rose runs into Bryant at a restaurant and puts on a pretend smile to talk to the Laker legend. Rose asks if Kobe sees the Twitter jokes about how his statue should be him scoring over Jalen, and Kobe insists he doesn’t pay attention to that stuff before proceeding to poke fun at Rose by ordering a vodka martini with 81 olives, and staring directly at Jalen.
The waiter, extremely confused by all of this, asks, “really?” and Bryant laughs and then requests just two, noting that it’s an inside joke between he and Rose. It’s a brilliant bit of marketing from Rose to lean into the biggest punchline of his career for the promo for his new show, and Kobe delivers a tremendous comedic performance by dead-panning for a good five seconds while staring at Rose before breaking into a smile and a chuckle over his fantastic joke.
I’m extremely here for Kobe’s turn as comedic relief on TV and in movies, as we slowly get the curtain peeled back on an NBA legend who also happens to be a very different and interesting personality.