The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers have an historic rivalry and Kobe Bryant has been a big chapter in the LA-Boston Rivalry. Kobe Bryant faced the Celtics for the last time in his career Sunday night in a game that saw Bryant turn back the clock and drop 34 points on the C's despite the Lakers losing 107-100.

Bryant has faced the Boston Celtics twice in the NBA finals throughout the course of his career. The first series a loss in 2008, then the second series what is his greatest triumph over the Celtics came in 2010 where Bryant and the Lakers defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Kobe has been a constant competitor throughout his entire career and every time he faced the C's he seemed to step up his game in respect to the rivalry.

Sundays game was no different as Lakers head coach Bryon Scott said that Kobe Bryant played "dead serious the whole game." which is was the first time he had done this all season. Bryon Scott said the reason behind this was Kobe's respect for the Boston-LA rivalry

Kobe's connection to the Celtics runs deeper than many have previously thought. One of Kobe Bryant's biggest mentors in his career is Celtics legend Bill Russell who Kobe describes as "unbelievable".

He has been an unbelievable mentor, especially from the standpoint of leadership and understanding groups, team dynamics and some of the experiences that he went through and how he was able to manage some of the teams that he played on, the difficulties he might have faced,” Bryant said. “He’s been an invaluable voice in my ear.
— Kobe Bryant on Bill Russell

The friendship that Bryant and Russell is a mentor-student relationship, both were the faces of their respective franchises in completely different eras. Despite the different eras Russell's experiences have helped Kobe get though some dicey moments that he ran into during the course of his career.

He’s won a lot of championships. We all know that,” Bryant said, referring to Russell. “But every championship team he’s been on had a different dynamic, had a different challenge that he had to deal with from teammates not seeing eye-to-eye, guys to believe or fit into their system, their role, dealing with success, pulling a team out of failure, … all those things are things that I have gone to him for.
— Kobe Bryant on Bill Russell

The respect current Celtics players have for Bryant is unparalleled to other stars around the league. Isaiah Thomas recalls the first time he played against Kobe and how tough it is to guard a player that can hit a shoot with a hand in his face.

My first year, it was my first game and [then-Sacramento Kings coach] Paul Westphal, he had a rule in practice where nobody could back me down because they would turn the ball over,” Thomas recalled. “And he subbed me in [against the Lakers].”

Before Thomas went on the floor, Westphal told him, “You got Kobe and remember, nobody can back you down.’”

Thomas’ response?

“ ‘Man, don’t lie to me. That’s Kobe,’ ” Thomas recalled telling Westphal.

“He backed me down three straight possessions and scored on me,” Thomas said. “And I’m just laughing the whole way down. That’s my best memory.
— Isaiah Thomas on Kobe

Kobe Bryant defeated the Celtics countless times during his career, he was hated, feared, and respected all at the same time. His time of playing basketball and the Boston Celtics is over, now it is time to respect Kobe for what he has accomplished as a player and what he has done of the sport of basketball. Kobe is a legend and shall never be forgotten.

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