Kobe Bryant was one of the most competitive NBA players ever.
One time, Bryant got into a fist fight over a bet gone wrong.
Insert Samaki Walker.
In a 2015 interview, Walker who is best known for his role on the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals, that Kobe Bryant sucker punched him for not paying him back some money.
“We got into it,” Samaki Walker told me.
“I’m still figuring it out to this day. … It was probably one of the craziest, most immature situations because the situation, from what I understand, was over 100 bucks. After practice, we usually get together as a team, and we play the half-court shot game. …
What everybody will do is put $100 in the pot, shoot a half-court shot, and whoever makes it first, considering everybody else gets their turn, gets the pot. … [Kobe] won the half-court contest, and the rule is you get 48 hours to pay the $100. There wasn’t even 48 hours. Kobe comes to me on the bus and asked me where his 100 bucks are. Believe it or not, out of all the people, he chose me, which is still, to this day, puzzling.”
I told him—listen, we were going to shootaround at the time—”Man, I don’t have no 100 bucks on me right now.” … I put my earphones back on, and once I put my earphones back on, the most amazing thing happened. Kobe, he sucker-punched me.
Samaki Walker came up big for the Los Angeles Lakers during game 4 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings.
With a 2-1 series lead, the Kings built a 24-point lead in the first half.
Walker heaved a 3-pointer to cut Sacramento’s lead to 14 points at halftime.
This was 2002 and the NBA had not yet implemented referees reviewing questionable calls in-game. So the three pointer stood. But, upon further review, Walker released the ball after the clock expired.
The Lakers would go on to win game 4 100-99. Lakers forward, Robert Horry played the role of hero, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the 4th quarter and living up to his nickname, Big Shot Bob after hitting a wide open 3 pointer over Chris Webber.
The Lakers tied the series at 2 games apiece.
The Lakers would go on to beat the Kings in 7 games and would advance to the NBA Finals, facing a Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin-led New Jersey Nets.
The Lakers beat New Jersey and became world champs.
Kobe Bryant was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA. He died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday when he, his daughter, Gianna and seven other passengers were en route to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy located in Thousand Oaks, California.
Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016 and the 20-year NBA vet currently sits fourth on the NBA’s career scoring list with 33,643 points, five NBA championships and his numbers 8 and 24, both retired by the Los Angeles Lakers organization at Staples Center.