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Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers allegedly hounded Game 7 of a 2006 playoff series against the Phoenix Suns to make a point to the head office and his mediocre teammates, according to Charles Barkley. Bryant was not convinced. No, he was adamantly against.
As the Suns blasted away the Lakers in the second half, Barkley believes Bryant purposely failed to participate on the offensive end of the ball. The Black Mamba sneered at the idea, instantly texting Barkley and yelling expletives at him.
During the second half of Game 7 against the Suns in 2006, Kobe Bryant only attempted three shots.
In their first-round playoff series against the Suns in 2006, the Lakers seemed to have the upper hand at first, owing to Kobe Bryant’s heroics.
After losing Game 1, the Lakers came back to win the following three games. In Game 2, Kobe set the tone with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. In Game 4, he scored on a difficult floater to send the game to overtime before completing one of the most famous playoff buzzer-beaters ever witnessed at Staples Center. The game-winner put the Lakers up 3-1 in the series, and Shaquille O’Neal subsequently said the shot should be used for any future Kobe Bryant statues.
The Lakers looked to have everything under control. However, LA was unable to bring the event to a conclusion. In Game 5, the Suns thrashed the Lakers, then won an overtime thriller in Game 6 despite Kobe’s 50 points. In the first quarter of Game 7, Phoenix put the game out of reach, leading 32-15.
Game 7, on the other hand, became famous for a different cause. Bryant only attempted three shots in the second half, and the Suns went on to win by 31 points. Bryant’s lack of aggression appeared out of character, and Charles Barkley believed Bryant had a motive for not giving 100 percent in a game on the line.
After the game, Barkley expressed his thoughts, prompting a verbal barrage from Kobe.
Bryant allegedly pulled himself out of the game to demonstrate that he needed more aid, prompting a profanity-laced diatribe from Bean.
Chuck Barkley didn’t appreciate Kobe’s reasoning for resting on his laurels in the second half, which he believed he understood.
Following the game, Barkley called Bryant selfish on live television. According to The Round Mound of Rebound, Bryant sought to persuade the front office that he lacked the necessary supporting cast to win a championship. Given Kobe’s desire for a transfer a year later, the report may not have been unjustified.
Bean, in any event, was irritated by Barkley’s critiques. Chuck stated Bryant called him all kinds of things for the next three hours during a 2020 interview with 247Sports (12:30 mark).
“[Kobe] shot one time in the second half – he was trying to show a point [that] he didn’t have any assistance, and I was furious, and I called him out, and when I went off the radio… For the next three hours, Kobe texted me, and we’re messaging back and forth, and he’s calling me every MF and SOB in the universe, and I’m giggling as I receive these, and I’m like, ‘Yo guy, pick up the phone and call me.’”
Chuck had a misunderstanding over how many shots Bryant took in the second half. However, his remember of the conversation with Bryant is undoubtedly vivid.
Given Kobe’s fierce competitiveness, basketball fans may not be shocked to read how he reacted in this occasion. He and Barkley, on the other hand, went on the set of NBA on TNT to talk things out and explain the issue to the public.
On live television, Bryant and Barkley made apologies.
At the 2016 ESPYs, Charles Barkley speaks with Kobe Bryant | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Later in the playoffs, TNT welcomed Kobe Bryant to the desk with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley. Bean was happy to help.
Kobe remarked (full video on YouTube) that Barkley’s insinuation that he wasn’t trying to win bothered him, and that he thought Chuck went too far in his character claims. He also said that not having the ball in his hands and keeping everyone engaged was part of LA’s plan, as the Lakers needed their players to be energetic in order to produce defensive stops.
Bryant continued. The 18-time All-Star used Game 4 as an example of how the Lakers overcame a deficit by clawing back into the game despite Kobe not scoring until his game-tying shot in overtime.
Sir Charles expressed sorry for going public with his remarks, and the two got along swimmingly after that. It’s unclear if Barkley ever believed Bryant’s statements about putting participation and defense above scoring. Nonetheless, he had the conversation with Kobe.
Barkley and Bryant have always had a great degree of respect for one another, with Kobe being named to the Round Mound of Rebound’s all-time squad in 2020. Even yet, none of Chuck’s accolades could rescue him from the fury of one of the game’s most ferocious opponents in 2006.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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