Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo in the NBA Finals.

Rajon Rondo classes Kobe Bryant as one of his few friends

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The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings faced off in the early hours of Wednesday morning but there was no Kobe Bryant as the Western Conference's bottom team fell to a 106-98 loss at the Staples Center. 

The 37-year-old sat out his final game against the Kings due to a sore shoulder and it meant he missed the chance to share the court one last time with former rival and now friend Rajon Rondo. 

The two guards were embroiled in a fierce rivalry during Rondo's time at the Boston Celtics as the two most decorated franchises in NBA history went head-to-head in the Finals of 2008 and 2010.

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The Celtics, led by coach Doc Rivers, won the first series 4-2 before the Los Angeles franchise got their revenge two years later with a 4-3 win.

But since those days when Rondo and Bryant went toe-to-toe, the two have struck up a strong bond and went for breakfast together in Beantown during the 2014-15 season. A move that gathered a lot of traction in the media. 

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Rondo has since departed TD Garden and is now plying his trade with the Sacramento Kings, via a short, unsuccessful spell with the Dallas Mavericks. 

Before the game against the Lakers, he spoke about the friendship he has built with the departing legend. As per ESPN, he said: "I don't have a lot of friends. I'm just friends with a lot of a--h---s: Kobe, DeMarcus [Cousins], Josh Smith, Big Baby [Glen Davis]. We're the same kind.

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

"What I love about all of us is we're competitors on and off the court. Hate to lose. I'm not going to say there's not many competitors in this game, but there's a certain kind of way you compete at that level and you have respect for one another." 

That intense level of competitiveness Kobe showed on a nightly basis is one of the main catalysts behind a career that will see him go down as one of the greatest ever. The personality trait is one of the reasons Rondo has so much respect for the shooting guard. 

"One of the best competitors of all time that I've ever played against. Even watching him against LeBron [James] the other day, [Bryant] might be of age, when it's time to compete and the lights are on, he always shows up ... even when he didn't play well.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

"The last game they won here, Game 7 [of the 2010 Finals] I think, he played [poorly] [Bryant shot 6-of-24 from the field], but he had like [15] rebounds. He found another way to impact the game. That's all you can ask for from your star. Some guys will pout or shut down if they're not scoring or not hitting, but he does the intangibles when needed."

LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Rajon Rondo
Sacramento Kings
Kobe Bryant

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