OAKLAND — Kobe Bryant will play in his final NBA game before retirement while the Warriors go for win No. 73. Before the games, Harrison Barnes reflected on Bryant.
Barnes was a rookie on April 12, 2013 when while guarding Bryant and getting called for a foul, the Los Angeles Lakers star ruptured his Achilles.
“I don’t think about it often, but as a rookie, that was one of the craziest basketball experiences of my life just guarding one of my idols and seeing him get hurt and thinking that he may never play basketball,” Barnes said Wednesday.
“It’s been great to obviously see him come back and be able to play and do that type of stuff, but at the time, it was super scary. I’m glad he was able to rehab from that and get back on the court.”
The feeling of the Achilles injury was such that Bryant in that moment asked Barnes if he had kicked him, hoping that was the reason for his discomfort.
It was not, and Bryant was never the same after that despite playing in his 107th game since the injury tonight.
“Kobe is the best player in this generation,” Barnes said. “Just everything he’s done for the game. Personally, just in the competition that we’ve had, he’s just been a great, great friend and mentor. And for the game, I think everybody in this generation has been influenced by him.”