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Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Did Jalen Rose Intentionally Injure Kobe Bryant During the 2000 NBA Finals? (VIDEO)

By Melissa Siegel, Posted: 09/18/12 05:48PM EDT
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant inching closer to a return date.(Photo : Creative Commons)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant may have Jalen Rose to thank for jumpstarting his NBA legacy.

The former Indiana Pacer told David Jacoby of Grantland that he may have intentionally injured Lakers' star Kobe Bryant during the 2000 NBA Finals. Bryant hurt his ankle in Game Two of the series when he landed on Rose's foot after a jump shot.

Bryant ended up missing most of that game and all of the next one with the injury. Bryant then returned in Game Four and put up one of his top performances, scoring eight points in overtime to lead his team to a 120-118 victory. The Lakers then won the series and Bryant's first championship two games later.

Rose begins the interview by naming his top unwritten rule for basketball players: Don't put your feet where a player taking a jump shot is going to land. Rose states that this could lead to serious injury for the opposing player.

Rose could have left it at that, but he then jokes that he broke his own rule numerous times, even in the pros. After some pressing from Jacoby, he admits that he might have done it intentionally to Bryant in the Finals.

"I think I did it on purpose," Rose said. "I can't say that it was an accident."

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Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times found video of the incident in question. It's a bit blurry, but it does appear that Rose sticks his leg out a little farther than normal so that Bryant will land directly on top of it.

But Rose admitted he regretted his move a few years later, when Bryant scored 81 points against Rose's Toronto Raptors.

"They say 'Jalen, how come somebody didn't hack the guy? How come somebody didn't closeline the guy?' Well I just tried it in the NBA Finals ... So that was my payback for dealing with the Black Mamba."

Ironically, Jacoby notes that Rose and Bryant have remained friends through all of this, mainly because the Lakers star didn't know that Rose tried to hurt him on purpose. But, as Rose points out, Bryant surely is going to find out the truth now.

"You guys just messed it up for the students of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy," Rose said jokingly at the end of the interview. "Kobe Bryant was going to send us gear and shoes and come visit us possibly when he came to Detroit."

To see the entire interview, click the video below.

Hat tip to Pro Basketball Talk.

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