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“We weren’t friends” — Ex-New York Knicks guard Chris Childs opened up about his infamous fight with Kobe Bryant

Childs said he and Kobe Bryant didn't need to talk about their fight to settle their beef.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and New York Knicks guard Chris Childs

Kobe Bryant and Chris Childs

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers were two of the most celebrated teams in the league. As expected, the matchups between the two big market franchises were often intense. And sometimes, the intensity reaches its crescendo that players end up fighting.

Then-Knicks center Chris Dudley and Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal had their moment, but the dust-up between the two bigs pales in comparison with that of the late Kobe Bryant and ex-Knicks point guard Chris Childs.

Chris opens up

Taking a quick trip down memory lane, the 1999-00 season was almost over, and the Knicks visited the Lakers in an April game. Things heated up after Bryant and Childs went back and forth in scoring. Both backcourts scored bucket after bucket, and we could tell there was some jawing until they decided to settle it with their fists.

Childs shoved Bryant and followed it up with a subtle head butt. Kobe then hit back with an elbow to Childs’ face, but it did no harm to the Knicks guard. Childs then swung at Bryant with a 1-2 punch that landed precisely on the Lakers star’s chin. As commendable a player Childs was, it became his most notable NBA highlight for obvious reasons.

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Months after Bryant’s death, Childs opened up about the infamous fight. According to the nine-year NBA veteran, he and Kobe were never friends and never tried to bury the hatchet. However, Childs said they had “mutual respect” for each other, which was more powerful than kind words.

We never sat down and talked about it; we were competitors. We weren’t friends;” Childs said last year via Heavy.com. “We didn’t go to dinner, but we had mutual respect for each other as far as how we played the game and how we prepared, and I have nothing but respect for that man for what he’s done on the court and off the court.

Honoring a frienemy

Childs also revealed that his connection with Bryant didn’t start and end in that fight. In fact, Childs said Kobe inspired him to help the needy and mentor the next generation of basketball players too.

If I can take a fraction of that and give back to the community; give back to girls basketball and give back to what I do which is mentoring young men and trying to help them become exceptional men, then I’ve done his legacy proud and hopefully others can follow suit,” he divulged.

In retrospect, Childs and Bryant prove that two competitive men don’t necessarily need to be friends, as mutual respect comes in different forms.

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