by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was badly injured while taking the final shot in a 96-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.

As time expired, Bryant pulled up for a fadeway along the baseline, twisting his ankle as he came down onto the foot of defender Dahntay Jones; betrayed by the same dependable shot he’s been perfecting since MJ ruled the league more than a decade before.

Or was he?

“As defensive players you can contest shots, but you can’t walk underneath players,” Bryant told reporters after the game. “That’s dangerous for the shooter.”

Kobe was careful in the post-game presser not to pin blame on Jones for intentionally tripping him, but he would sound off on Twitter a short time later.

And then again Thursday morning.

In Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals, Kobe suffered a similar injury when his shot was contested by Jalen Rose in a near replica of the incident from Wednesday’s game.


“I just think players need to be made conscious of it and I think officials need to protect shooters,” Bryant said. “Period.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if Jones wasn’t afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

Let’s debate whether it was intentional or not in a moment, but for now, take in the breadth of Kobe saying he can’t get his mind past the fact that he has to wait a year to get revenge.

While he is indisputably on the downside of his career, Kobe Bryant has a killer instinct the likes of which is unparalleled around the league, a level of intensity a player hasn’t reached since the aforementioned Jordan. And whether Jones truly meant to trip him or not remains inconsequential.

Kobe’s mind is made up and he won’t forget this.

When the time does finally come for the two to reunite on the basketball court, he’ll make Jones pay.

He also hasn’t forgotten a similar incident that occurred between the two.

Note to reader:

Jones himself recounted on Twitter the similar run-in between the two when he tripped Bryant as a member of the Denver Nuggets in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. Disclosing a moment he says he “wasn’t proud of” doesn’t distinctly qualify these as isolated incidents, but it does serve to disarm the staunchest of NBA fans who remember the prior history, imploring them to at least take a second look at the more recent event.

Now, considering everything you just read/watched, take a look at the footage below and give us your take.

Intentional or unintentional?

Keep in mind, the NBA has since come out and said officials should have called Jones for a foul (not flagrant). Based on that ruling, Jones’ intent is still up in the air.


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