Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant in Las Vegas (Photo: Chris Robinson – www.HustleBoss.com)
By Chris Robinson
On the surface, there wasn’t anything particularly fascinating about the Sacramento Kings’ 104-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in their preseason encounter at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this past Thursday evening.
Led by star center DeMarcus Cousins’ 16 points and 12 rebounds, the Kings overcame a 50-48 halftime defecit with a big rally in the fourth quarter as the Lakers failed to executive down the stretch.
In the Lakers’ locker room afterwards, things were business as usual, as key members from the team expressed gratitude for the early learning lessons of the preseason as well as showing anticipation towards what the regular season will hold.
It was only when one was able to take a walk down the hallway of the MGM Grand Garden Arena that you could see some magic happening behind the scenes.
Relaxed and dressed in a grey hoodie, Lakers’ team captain Kobe Bryant could be seen talking casually to his friend and fellow sports titan Floyd Mayweather, the man regarded as the best active boxer on the planet.
There’s little debate as to the impact each man has had while honing their respective crafts over the years.
A 15-time All Star and five-time NBA champion, Bryant is regarded as one of the most gifted and fiercest competitors to ever step on the court.
Having amassed a professional record of 45-0 with 26 knockouts and having won titles in five weight classes, Mayweather is the face of boxing and is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Despite all of the star power in the room, the conversation was completely casual and it was simply an interesting study to see each man completely subdued and nonchalant with one another.
As Mayweather spoke to Bryant, he was surrounded by his personal security and some of his close friends.
At 36 years old, Mayweather is coming off of another virtuoso performance, as he outclassed Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez over twelve rounds on Sept. 14 in a junior middleweight title unification.
Leading up to the fight, Alvarez was hyped up to be a legitimate challenge, something that Mayweather attempted to explain to Bryant in the wake of his latest rout.
“They said the boy was built for this,” Mayweather said. “Well, put him in front of me and let me see. You know experience plays a major key.”
Giving his personal thoughts on the match, Bryant revealed that he knew beforehand what exactly was going to take place.
“I had my kids watch the fight,” Bryant added. “I said ‘Listen, you’re about to see a session.’”
At the moment, Bryant is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that he suffered this past April but all reports claim he is well ahead of schedule for a hopeful return.
The talk between the two legends turned to basketball, as Bryant looked ahead towards his team’s then-forthcoming trip to China.
“You still traveling?” Mayweather asked Bryant, 35, candidly.
“I’ve got to,” Bryant answered. “I’ve got to stay close to these boys. I’ve got to stay close to them.”
Bryant then took a moment to ask Mayweather a question many have been wondering lately.
“Who are you going to fight?” Bryant asked, pointing towards a boxing landscape that seems to have no ideal opponent for Mayweather at the moment.
“Who do you got left to fight?” Bryant again questioned.
“Who we got left to fight?” Mayweather responded, showing some sarcasm as he gathered his thoughts.
“We’re going to make somebody up,” Mayweather claimed. “Give me one of them undefeated studs and say ‘This is the guy for Floyd.’”
“He may be,” Mayweather would remark of his next opponent. “In another lifetime. But not this one.”
As the conversation came to close, the two men embraced one another.
“Ok Kobe, just text me and let me know,” Mayweather said. “I appreciate you.”
“Of course,” Bryant responded, showing his respect.
Before exiting, Bryant took a few minutes to take some pictures with Mayweather and his entourage, who had being enjoying the moment up until that point.
After some joking around, the two men again locked hands, but not before Mayweather offered up one last sound bite.
“I’ve got to tell you, there’s only two types of people in this world; the players and the haters,” Mayweather said.
With that, the two men went their separate ways, but that brief moment they shared with one another outside of the Lakers’ dressing room was something that won’t soon be forgotten.
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com