In an interview that was uploaded to YouTube on March 12, Shumpert spoke of a time when he played for the New York Knicks, and Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers faced them at Madison Square Garden.
Shumpert, who’s known for his defense, said he played well against Bryant that game and stole the ball from him more than once.
Shumpert was proud of his plays and was eager to brag once the game was over, but at the end of the third quarter Bryant let him know that he celebrated prematurely.
“I guarded Kobe in the Garden,” said Shumpert at around the 37:20 mark of the interview. “I can’t remember how much he had, but I know I had multiple steals against him, to where in the game, in my head, all I’m thinking of is when I’m having this conversation with my brother after the game, how I’m going to tell him how I stole a ball from Kobe. How I drove by Kobe and got a dunk. Like, I’m thinking about all these things in my head, I’m so geeked.
“The fourth quarter starts and Kobe said, ‘You had a great game young fella.’ I swear, I looked at the clock like, ‘There’s 12 minutes [left], what are you talking about?’ ” he continued.
Shumpert then said that Bryant was quiet for the entire game, which made him that much more confused by his “you-had-a-great-game” comment.
He also explained how Bryant turned up his play in the fourth quarter and couldn’t be stopped.
“The man come down, you remember, he came, shot fake, shot fake, threw it off the glass, caught it, threw it to the corner. I’m like, ‘bro, what you on? Like, bro, you been regular all game.’ ”
Based on their comments, people got a kick out of Shumpert’s story, and they also brought up Bryant’s high skill level, as well as his killer drive.
“Hahahha I love the honesty from Shump and I wish they would’ve mic’d up Kobe more to hear how many guys he did this too,” someone tweeted.
“His story’s about Kobe he really describes Kobe at his realist essence! 💯🙏🏼,” another person wrote on Instagram.
“Kobe was like that for real,” a third person stated. “Stone cold killer. I miss that dude so much.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California, which sparked international mourning. A memorial for the victims took place on Feb. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.