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The bondAnthony’s eyes opened during his first NBA All-Star game in 2007, a moment that gave him a first-hand glimpse about Bryant in the most unexpected circumstance. “He was approaching the All-Star game like it was a regular-season game,” Anthony said, laughing. Even if Bryant won the All-Star MVP award that season, Anthony did not fully appreciate Bryant’s greatness until a year later. Then, Bryant and Anthony played together in Beijing on the U.S. Olympic team.In between wins that ended with a gold medal, Bryant and Anthony admired each other’s work habits and scoring talent. Anthony also learned that Bryant had a more outgoing and playful personality than he had demonstrated both on the court and to the media. “We spent a lot of time together,” Bryant said. “He was the one I was the closest with on the team.”That dynamic also played out in the 2012 London Olympics. But among all the stars on one team, how did Bryant and Anthony strike the strongest friendship?“It wasn’t forced,” Anthony said. “It happened organically and naturally.”The matchupsThose fuzzy feelings still took a backseat when Bryant and Anthony squared off in 28 regular-season games and two NBA playoff series (2008-09). Then, Bryant jokingly lamented that Anthony “stole a lot of my moves” as he averaged 23.4 points on 46 percent shooting in the regular season and 25.5 points in the postseason. “He continues to play all the time,” Bryant said. “He’s not going to settle and accept the fact that you double team him and deny the ball. He’s going to crash the offensive glass and continue to work.” But no matter. Bryant had plenty of answers for every one of Anthony’s scoring outbursts. After all, Anthony shot only 38.8 percent from the field in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Bryant averaged 27.2 points on a 44.3 percent clip in the regular season and averaged 33.8 points on a 40.9 percent mark in the postseason.The Lakers eliminated the Nuggets twice, including a sweep in the first round of the 2008 NBA playoffs and the 2009 Western Conference Finals in six games. During that time, Bryant scored endlessly in Game 2 (41 points), Game 4 (34) and Game 6 (35).“We thought we had a chance to beat them that year,” Anthony said. “But his greatness came out.”Since then, Bryant has described Anthony as “a bear” and touted him as the most difficult player he has guarded. But that has not stopped Bryant from expressing his superiority over his close friend. “I know what he’s going to be running,” Bryant said, referring to the Knicks’ triangle offense. “Obviously. I’ll help Carmelo out and tell him where to go on the spots on the floor.”Anthony chuckled at Bryant’s comments, though apparently he wasn’t joking. “He does that often when we play against them,” Anthony said. “I can take his advice when it comes to that.”The supportAnthony has also taken Bryant’s advice on other matters. During that stressful All-Star weekend in 2011, Bryant became what Anthony described as “very influential in my decision.”“I just want him to be happy,” Bryant said at the time. “Every time I speak to him about it, it’s about him making the best decision for him and nobody else.” Bryant offered a similar perspective once Anthony fielded criticism for his high-volume shooting when he joined the Knicks. So much that Bryant recalled asking him, “What the hell are you doing?” for feeling self-conscious about his scoring role. Bryant and Anthony had more intimate conversations when the Lakers pursued Anthony in free agency during the 2014 offseason. Bryant hoped to finally partner up with his long-time friend, he remained understanding of Anthony staying for financial reasons and his trust in Phil Jackson’s vision.“Everybody at this level needs somebody we can talk to and needs somebody we can relate to,” Anthony said. “We need somebody who can straight-up tell you how it is, whether you’re right or whether you’re wrong. We all need that. We all need those people. He was one of those guys.” It appears Bryant will remain that guy on Sunday. After Anthony praised Bryant for having “juice” and “fresh legs” in a 26-point effort on Thursday against LeBron James, the Knicks’ star sounded mindful Bryant could duplicate the same feat against him. But once it ends, Bryant and Anthony will likely hug and share encouraging words. That has often marked the defining image of Bryant’s farewell tour against marquee opponents. But this time, the moment will symbolize a partnership that helped Anthony through the good and the bad. Quote box: “It wasn’t forced. It happened organically and naturally.” — New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony on his close friendship with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant The anxiety overwhelmed Carmelo Anthony during a time when he should have felt relaxed. But just as NBA All-Star weekend started in Los Angeles in 2011, Anthony learned his private hopes for the Denver Nuggets to trade him morphed into a real possibility he would land with the former New Jersey Nets. Suddenly, Anthony seemed resigned he would not enjoy himself through the NBA All-Star game, the event’s parties and interview sessions. But Kobe Bryant erased those concerns as quickly as when he has led the Lakers to comeback victories. The Lakers’ star had his own litany of responsibilities as the city’s ambassador. But after Bryant and Anthony sparked a friendship on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008, Bryant also spent part of his busy All-Star weekend five years ago having several conversations with Anthony that put him at ease. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “From that point,” Anthony said, “we became a lot closer as friends.”Plenty has changed for Anthony after the Nuggets accommodated his trade request a year later to the New York Knicks. But Anthony’s friendship with Bryant has remained strong as ever. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, and Anthony’s wife, La La, are also close.“He is like a brother to me,” Bryant said. “I love him.” So when the Lakers (14-52) host the Knicks (27-39) on Sunday at Staples Center, the sentiments Anthony will feel in his last game against Bryant could mark one of the genuine moments of his farewell tour. “You guys won’t know it. You guys won’t see it,” Anthony said. “But inside it will be an emotional day knowing this is the last time I’ll be able to compete against a guy like that.”
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments By Shane Farley, Newscow.net â€”Â A 62-year-old Belle Plaine man was killed Friday morning when the cargo tank his semi truck was pulling exploded following a collision on I-35 just south of Stillwater.Dwight Handley Jr. was pinned inside his 2000 Freightliner for some time and pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The accident remains under investigation.Around 10 a.m., Handley was northbound on the highway when he encountered a 2007 Peterbilt semi truck driven by 31-year-old Jesse Brownlee of Wellington. Brownleeâ€™s rig was disabled and stopped partially on the shoulder and partially in one of the northbound lanes.Handleyâ€™s rig struck the rear driver side of Brownleeâ€™s and then caught fire. The fire led the cargo tank on Handleyâ€™s rig to explode.Brownlee was not injured.A pedestrian was also seriously injured at the scene after stopping to render aid.Follow us on Twitter.