The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers have been fierce competitors since Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1996, but with the 37-year-old's career coming to an end, that rivalry has taken a back seat to a more admirable and appreciative approach.
The San Antonio Spurs won 119-113 in Kobe's final game against Gregg Popovich and his team on Friday night. Before tip-off, coach Pop faced questions from the media about the departing Bryant.
One of the questions was what it was like to coach the five-time NBA champion in his final All-Star game and Pop spoke about one moment in particular that caught his attention.
As per ESPN, he said: "What really stood out was the respect that all the players had for him. We’re practicing, we’re fooling around, having a good time, and all of a sudden they started playing a video up there of Kobe's highlights.
"And one by one, the players just stopped. We all just stopped, and everybody looked up and stared at it. For some of the young guys, the young All-Stars, some of the stuff they had never seen before, probably, when he was young. There were ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs,' and that was a pretty cool moment."
Popovich, who has been head coach of the San Antonio Spurs for 20 years, also joked about the one-on-one between himself and Bryant during the All-Star weekend in Toronto.
He said: "He elbowed me. He did. I don’t know if you looked at that. He got competitive, and he elbowed me so he could get by me because I’m so quick, and I was staying in front of him.
"He’s a slow old dog, and I’m quick. The only way he could get around me was to cheat, so he raised that elbow and cracked me."