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“I tried to hurt Kobe Bryant in a Finals game coz I wanted to win it bad”: Former Pacers guard Jalen Rose almost hampered Lakers’ three-peat intentionally

Akash Murty

“I tried to hurt Kobe Bryant in a Finals game coz you know I wanted to win that bad”: Former Pacers guard Jalen Rose almost hampered Lakers' three-peat intentionally

The things Kobe Bryant did after accidentally falling into the laps of the Lakers in 1996 were just breathtaking but that could have been spoilt by one man’s ill intentions.

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest players to ever dribble a basketball. Very few saw the potential of what the 18-year-old guard had in him when he declared for the 2016 NBA Draft.

Neither the twelve teams that skipped the opportunity to pick him nor the Charlotte Hornets who selected him with their 13th pick were among those people who saw that. But the Lakers, who only had one first-round pick (24th) that year, found themselves lucky to get their hands on a future 18x All-Star as they were trying to free the cap space for Shaquille O’Neal and doing so traded their big man Vlade Divac for Hornets’ 13th pick.

They decided and relayed their message at the last moment for that pick to be Bryant. They were also able to sign The Diesel that fair off-season of 1996 and made themselves a top team for years to come.

As soon as the turn of the century, both Bryant and O’Neal won several accolades together under Phil Jackson’s guidance, including 3 NBA championships, but their first one wouldn’t have transpired if Jalen Rose completely succeeded in what he was trying to do.

Also read: “Kobe Bryant wanted to hoop!”: Demar DeRozan was called to the Hood for his Drew League outing 


Jalen Rose almost hampered Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ three-peat intentionally

Rose has since publicly admitted that during Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals between the Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers, he purposely slipped one of his feet under Kobe while he was in the air, causing Kobe to sprain his left ankle.

“Now you look back in hindsight, and I don’t think it’s cute… I don’t think it’s cool… I don’t think I am hard coz I tried to hurt Kobe Bryant in a game.” Rose remembered in an interview.

The ESPN analyst continued, “I’m disgusted by it because you know I wanted to win that bad that I was willing to basically cheat to do it. So, that’s how I really feel about it.”

The Lakers guard did miss Game 3, but then to the Pacers’ dismay came back in Game 4.

Although he just put up 8 points and 5 assists in the victory, they were some crucial away points to take a 3-1 lead in the series, his 26p/10r/4a/2b/1s in the fifth and final game was his highlight performance of his first Championship.

Thanks to NBA commissioner Adam Silver now the league doesn’t entertain that atrocious foul anymore and calls it a flagrant and gives away hefty penalties based upon the intention of the foul-committing player.

Also read: LeBron James’ year 20 goal will be to eclipse Kobe Bryant, how the 6’9 Lakers legend can make history 

Kobe will give Rose another scar in the future when the latter was with the Raptors in 2006 and the Lakers star would score his career high and NBA’s second-highest score of all time – 81-points in a 104-122 win in Toronto.

About the author

Akash Murty

Akash Murty


An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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