Nearly 12 years later, it appears Jalen Rose wants to come clean.
Remember, when Bryant suffered an ankle injury in the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers? It didn’t happen because Bryant randomly landed awkwardly after shooting a jumper. It apparently happened because Rose made sure it would.
“I think I did it on purpose,” Rose told Grantland.com. “I can’t say that it was an accident.”
Look at the 1:33 mark of the video below and you can see for yourself. It’s hard to reach a conclusion based on that video that Rose pulled a dirty trick by planting his foot underneath where Bryant would land after shooting a jumper. After all, Rose turned around during Bryant’s shot. But with Rose’s admission, who’s to argue with him?
“Kobe Bean Bryant goes up for a jump shot out on the right wing,” Rose told Grantland.com. “I contest the jump shot. Kobe lands on my foot. He hobbles off and actually misses the next game. If it was up to me, he should’ve just missed the whole series. I would’ve had a championship ring and it would’ve been no harm, no foul.”
That didn’t happen.
Bryant provided a minor scare by sitting out most of Game 2 and all of Game 3. But his clutch performances in Games 4 (28 points) and Game 6 (26 points) provided early evidence that Bryant could play effectively through most injuries. Rose then believes he suffered some karma for playing on the Toronto Raptors team when Bryant scored a career-high 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006.
Considering that Rose hasn’t admitted this until now, he also wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers star would no longer invite him to his basketball camps.
Said Rose: “That was my payback for dealing with the Black Mamba.”