Kobe Bryant usually gave the opposing defense headaches with his various moves on the court. Supremely confident, there wasn't a defender Kobe feared or was concerned about. The best you could get was Bryant giving you a compliment.
“You one of the best post defenders I ever played against”
The Black Mamba faced Kendrick Perkins and the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals and came away with nothing. He had his revenge two years later, in the 2010 NBA finals, when the L.A. Lakers subdued the Celtics in seven games. Kobe paid a big tribute to one member of the Celtics who was not part of their Big Four: Kendrick Perkins.
The burly center claimed that Kobe spotted him outside a bar in Las Vegas and bearhugged him. The Lakers legend then said some words that Perkins would never forget.
“Man, I just want to tell you man, it’s all respect. And I tell people this all the time, you one of the best post defenders I ever played against.”
Kobe Bryant to Kendrick Perkins, The Jump
In case you are skeptical, here’s a clip of Kobe Bryant pointing out the former Celtics center’s contribution on the floor.
Kendrick Perkins’ defense
Some fans quickly forget that Perk was an important center for Boston because of his booboos on the floor that promptly became memes. He averaged 10.1 points in the 2009-10 season while also averaging 1.7 blocks per game, both career-highs. The Nederland, Texas native didn’t possess supreme lateral quickness, but he was big and tough on the floor. Perkins knew his role and played it perfectly.
Perk might be the most unlikely player to receive a compliment from The Black Mamba. He earned it by playing tough defense during their battles on the court. Kendrick might be a loose cannon now as an analyst, but he let his game do the talking at the peak of his career.
Beating Kobe Bryant in the Finals is already an achievement, and getting compliments from him is like icing on top of the cake of anyone’s career.