If you were around for Gilbert Arenas' heyday with the Washington Wizards, then you probably remember when he scored 60 points against the Lakers on the road at the Staples Center in December of 2006. He was in the gold Wizards alternate jersey, he took a bow late in the game and Kobe Bryant afterward said he had "no conscience."
Well, it turns out the story goes deeper than that, as Arenas and former Wizards teammate Brendan Haywood explained on the 'Opinionated 7-Footers' podcast this week. Apparently, Arenas made a bit of a mistake later on that evening, one that Bryant didn't forget.
As they told it, ahead of their match-up with the Lakers, Haywood came up with a new nickname for Arenas, one that represented the antithesis of Bryant's 'Black Mamba' moniker and one that he could use to trash-talk Bryant.
"That's the enemy of the 'Black Mamba,' that's the one that fights. I'm gonna do that," Arenas said.
Arenas said he planned to taunt Bryant with the name during the game, but for the life of him couldn't remember it. But he did say it to Bryant eventually after he was reminded.
"Gil drops 60. We're flying out of L.A. and we're on the runway. Caron [Butler] is still cool with Kobe and calls Kobe. They're talking. Gil: 'hey man, who are you talking to? You're talking to Kobe? Put him on speaker phone,'" Haywood said.
"'Hey man, if you're the Black Mamba, I'm the Black Mongoose.' He's on speaker phone. Kobe was like 'I'm gonna remember that when I come see y'all in D.C.'"
And Bryant did remember it, according to them. After the Wizards beat the Lakers 147-141 in overtime in L.A., the Lakers came to Washington just a few weeks later on Feb. 3.
"The next game when we played in D.C. two months later, Kobe walks by. He doesn't shake anybody's hand," Haywood said. "He smacks Gil on the butt and is like 'remember, you asked for this.'"
Bryant then dropped 39 points in a Lakers win. So, it backfired.
Arenas and Bryant had a nice little rivalry that year, but were never truly at odds. Earlier this year, Bryant helped inspire Arenas to get into coaching not long before Bryant passed.
You can listen to Arenas' full interview right here.
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