Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr.: Kobe Bryant Taunted Carmelo Anthony Into Lighting Me Up

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(Photo: Getty Images)

It's been almost an entire postseason since Kobe Bryant hung up his kicks and called it a career, and still the players and coaches who knew him are sharing stories of his ridiculousness—a tradition with enough narrative ammo to last a few decades, apparently.

This tale comes from Larry Nance Jr., a Los Angeles Lakers rookie during the Black Mamba's farewell season.

Maybe it's because Kobe instinctively hates all rookies, or because this particular rookie tweeted that Bryant is a rapist back in 2012, but the 18-time All-Star who ended his career with a record-setting performance goaded New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony into busting Nance for an explosive fourth quarter … and a three-point Knicks victory at Staples Center.

Here's his story, originally told back in August, in its entirety. He also discusses the matchup nightmare that is San Antonio Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge.

One can pardon Nance for losing track of the actual numbers—he was a little busy worrying about stopping a Hall of Fame scorer from getting loose against him—but Anthony dropped 14, not six, points through three quarters on that fateful night, still a low tally for him. But after returning to the floor with nine minutes remaining, Carmelo dropped 12 points to lead his squad to a 90-87 victory. Though I'm sure it felt like 24 to the rookie he hung those points on.

Here's Carmelo's entire 26-point performance from March 13, 2016.