With rumors abound that the Los Angeles Lakers are pursuing former Suns shooting guard Raja Bell, a lot has been made of the fact that Kobe Bryant and Bell were once arch-enemies on the hardwood.
However, Bell -- the feisty defender who famously clotheslined Bryant in the 2006 NBA playoffs -- said the two have made peace with one another and developed a mutual respect.
"Definitely ... It's definitely there [mutual respect]," Bell told the L.A. media. "I respect how goddamn awesome that clothesline was, and I think Kobe now respects it, as well. I know his throat does. Man, that shit felt great."
Bryant could only shake his head when told of Bell's assessment.
"That was indeed awesome. I totally deserved it. I mean, I'm not sure how I ever hoped to get away with being that big of a douche," Bryant said. "I'm surprised I wasn't clotheslined sooner. I know Vujacic wants some, but that punk-ass bitch ain't gonna do a thing about it but come in to the game when I say it's ok, shoot an open three-pointer when I say it's ok, then go sit his ass back down on the bench and watch me win us the game."
Both players are hopeful that something can be done in the offseason to bring them together for another Lakers championship campaign.
Ron Artest, another player with whom Bryant has tussled in the past before becoming teammates, was asked about playing with Bryant after previous brush-ups.
"Dude's a silly, crazy-ass dude, you know," Artest said somewhat coherently. "He's got some enemies and some friends and some friends who used to be enemies but now are friends, but man ... dude's ... wow, Kobe's the greatest, you know? He's like some great ancient warrior fighting in ancient times against some crazy-ass creatures that are all like powerful and shit and do some crazy stuff to make Kobe angry and then he's all like, 'Yo, crazy-ass creatures, calm your shit down, man, and let's be friends and we can rule these ancient times together!' and then next thing you know, they're all getting along and shit. Man, I like potato chips so much. They're great, especially with a glass of Tang."