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Warriors React to Kobe's Big Night
Golden State On Hand for Bryant's Jersey Retirement
Future NBA Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement ceremony took place at halftime of the Warriors-Lakers game on Monday night, and it was only fitting that Golden State was Los Angeles’ opponent for that memorable spectacle. After all, Bryant had considerable success against the Dubs throughout his decorated 20-year career.
Bryant played 67 career games against Golden State, the second-most of any opponent. He both made and attempted more field goals and three-pointers against the Warriors than any other NBA team, and the 1,812 points he scored against the Dubs were also the most he totaled against any opponent.
Becoming the first player in NBA history to have two jersey numbers retired by the same team, both Bryant’s #8 and #24 were raised to the rafters of Staples Center in front of a crowd that included quite the collection of NBA greats. The Warriors returned from halftime early to catch the end of the ceremony before going on to defeat the Lakers 116-114 in overtime. Following the victory, Steve Kerr, Kevin Durant and Klay Thomson were asked a variety of questions about the eventful evening, Bryant and his impact on the game of basketball. See below for what they had to say, as well as social reaction from other members of the team:
Steve Kerr on the halftime ceremony:
“I didn’t see too much of it. I came out kind of halfway through it, but the most fun thing was just to see all the legends, seeing Bill Russell and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] sitting next to each other, seeing a lot of old friends and foes, people that I know and played with and against. It was a fun night.”
Kevin Durant on the halftime ceremony:
“I caught about the last 10 minutes of it, right before he spoke. It was just inspiring man, to see two numbers go up, and just knowing the impact he had here in STAPLES. In L.A. as a whole, so many people enjoyed watching him play. He just put up so much happiness for so many people. I know a lot of people know him as the Black Mamba, but so many kids picked up a basketball because of him. That’s what we do it for.”
Kerr on if Durant’s winning plays were a tribute to Bryant:
“Yeah. If you think about it Kobe’s career…how many games like that did he have where, you know, maybe things weren’t going the way it would seem when he shot. Michael Jordan used to do that all that time, that’s what the great players do. They still come through in the clutch on a night when maybe things aren’t going very well. I thought that’s what KD [Kevin Durant] did tonight.”
Klay Thompson on Bryant praising him before the game:
“I appreciate that. I looked up to that man as a player for so long and he’s such a talent, but an even better competitor. It doesn’t matter how good of a player you are, if you work that hard for 20 years maximizing your potential, you have my respect.”