Despite past controversies between the two, Karl Malone has stated that he regrets playing just a single season with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who will be playing his final game in the NBA against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
“No disrespect to any of my teammates in Utah. I had some great ones. Every now and then you run across maybe 4 or 5 players and you say ‘God, I wished I played more with that guy instead of just that one year’. It was awesome [ to play with Kobe Bryant] I got to know him really good as a person. I’m proud of him. I just regret not playing more with him,” Malone said in an interview with ESPN, which also featured another NBA legend in Julius Irving.
However, Malone’s statement brings back memories of Bryant’s rift with the former Lakers and Utah Jazz power forward back in 2004, when Malone was accused of “making a pass” at Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.
“Kobe and Karl had a true friendship, much more than teammates,” Rob Pelinka, the player agent of Bryant said in an official statement said during the time of the controversy. “Their wives are quite friendly as well. Kobe has told me that he feels very hurt and betrayed by what has happened.”
Malone played with Bryant with the Lakers in the 2003-2004 season. The pair made the NBA Finals that year but fell to the Detroit Pistons in the championship round.