What Kobe Bryant did after Gilbert Arenas called himself the 'Black Mongoose'

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Matt Weyrich
·2 min read
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How Kobe responded after Arenas called himself the 'Black Mongoose' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Gilbert Arenas was feeling himself.

Fresh off a Wizards-record, 60-point performance against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, Arenas started calling himself the best offensive player in the NBA. He was in the midst of a third-straight All-Star season and Washington, after beating the Lakers 147-141, was in the thick of the playoff picture in the East.

Former Wizards center Brendan Haywood joined NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards crew this week to remember Bryant one year after his death. When asked to recall a memory of when he saw someone get "Kobe'd," Haywood recalled the time Arenas tried to provoke the Black Mamba.

“As we’re on the tarmac getting ready to leave L.A., Kobe is talking to Caron [Butler] and y’all all know Gil’s personality,” Haywood said. “Gil is like, ‘Caron, who you talking to? You talking to Kobe? Man, put him on speaker phone.’ And I had already put the battery in Gil’s back. I told him in the game, I said, ‘Listen, dog. The Mongoose kills the snake, so you need to call yourself the Black Mongoose.’

RELATED: Gilbert Arenas speaks out on how Kobe Bryant inspired him to stop being an internet troll

“So when Gil was on speaker phone…he said, ‘Yeah, and if you the Black Mamba, I’m the Black Mongoose.’ He is cutting up. All you hear Kobe says is, ‘I’m gonna remember that and make sure next time you see me you come guard me like I’m gonna come guard you.’ And hung up. That was it.”

The Wizards and Lakers saw each other again later that season. Just before opening tip, Haywood went over to Bryant and put his hand out. Bryant walked right past him, went up to Arenas, smacked him on the rear and said, “Remember, you asked for this. And what I tell you on the phone? Make sure you come guard me the way I’m about to guard you.”

“He gave us [39] of the meanest points you’ll ever see,” Haywood said. “I’m talking about he was doing windmills, he did like a 360 and then finished it off with the airplane…Kobe was on tilt. That Black Mongoose comment must have stung him to his soul in the bottom of his core.”

Arenas finished the game with 37 points of his own but shot 9-of-29 (.310) from the field including 3-of-15 from 3-point range. The Lakers cruised to a 118-102 win on the Wizards’ home court, giving Bryant the satisfaction of ending the season series between the two teams on his terms.

Watch more from NBC Sports Washington's roundtable on Kobe Bryant Tuesday night at 7 PM on Wizards Pregame Live.