Metta World Peace and the late great Kobe Bryant built an interesting relationship during their playing careers in the NBA. At first, they frequently went at each other in the regular season and the playoffs. Later on, Metta joined Kobe with the Lakers and, in their first year together, won an NBA championship back in 2010.
In an interview on ‘All The Smoke’ podcast, Metta shared how different their relationship was when they were competitors, especially in the series against the Houston Rockets back in 2009. One year later, they became teammates, and Metta saw firsthand what motivated Kobe and how he approached other players on the team.
When Artest played with the Rockets, he and Kobe got into a few scuffles during the series in which Kobe averaged over 28 points per game. Being competitive as they both were, there was a lot of physical contact and, according to Artest, offensive fouls committed by Kobe to get in a favorable position. Hot-headed as Artest was, tried to provoke Kobe to fight him, but he couldn’t care less and was laser-focused on the game instead.
Kobe is my boy, but at this time I’m going to the ref, and I’m like, didn’t you just see him do that, and the ref says he didn’t see it. So I go to Kobe, and I tell him, don’t you ever do that again, and Kobe doesn’t care; he is focused on the game. Kobe is a killer, he is different. I look up to Kobe.Metta World Peace, via All The Smoke
Artest joined the Lakers as a replacement for Trevor Ariza, who left the team, and immediately clicked with Kobe, one of the first people to contact him. He remembers everything that was said about Kobe was true, and the competitive environment he got himself into suited him and the team who need someone like Artest.