Kobe Bryant had numerous rivalries during his career in the NBA. While some were just spur-of-the-moment feuds, a few of them escalated to a big level. His numerous altercations with former NBA player Raja Bell certainly fell into the latter category.
The two went head to head several times in their careers and more often than not it ended with them being at each other’s throats.
Back in 2012, when Bell was playing for the Utah Jazz, he got into it with Kobe like always. He bumped into him while implementing a full-court press. Well, following that, Kobe activated his lethal mode and went on to utterly destroy Raja throughout the game.
Raja Bell tries to check Kobe in 2012. Kobe dropped 40 and sealed the win, Bell fouled out.
“He can’t guard me. He knows that.” 🗣 pic.twitter.com/fODEXZyvOY
— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) August 28, 2021
As you would have expected, Kobe went on a bizarre scoring run. He knocked shot after shot over Bell and embarrassed him the entire game. The Mamba finished with 40 points in the game and of course a win.
Since this was Bell’s last season in the NBA, fans didn’t let this chance slip off and used it to insult him. Many joked about Kobe straight away, sending Bell into retirement.
As we mentioned earlier, this wasn’t the first time that the two players had had a feud. Once in 2006, Bell committed a hard foul on Kobe, to which Bryant replied maybe Bell wasn’t hugged enough as a kid.
Even after fighting Kobe on several occasions, Raja was aware of the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s talents. Later down the line, he opened up about his rivalry with Kobe and labeled him as the greatest competitor in an interview in 2020.
« There wasn’t a greater competitor. I played against and with some of the greatest competitors, and there were none better than Kobe. There were none more calculating and none more cutthroat and more dedicated to the task than Kobe Bryant. I can say that definitively… He was a true champion. »
At the end of the day, the two players thrived on the competition and it got the better of them on the court. Maybe they could have solved their differences after retirement. But we will never know,