The Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour made its first of two stops in Memphis on Sunday night, and it went about as well as the entire season has gone for the Lakers.
The Grizzlies, who shot over 56 percent from the floor, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Lakers by a final score of 112-96.
Six Grzzlies finished in double figures, led by Mike Conley's 19-5-4-4 steals.
After the game was over, Kobe spoke to the media, and he talked about a variety of Grizz-related topics.
Kobe on if Tony Allen was the toughest defender he had to play against: "No question. He's fundamentally extremely sound. He has long arms, very athletic, and he does his homework - he's old school. He watches film, he knows where you're going to go before you go. I enjoyed competing against him."
Kobe when asked about the time he didn't flinch when Matt Barnes pump-faked throwing a ball at his face: "He's crazy, but he's not that crazy so I didn't flinch. It was just a split-second reaction. I processed it pretty quickly and realized what was going on. We laughed and joked about it a lot when we played together. He told me, 'How the hell are you just not going to flinch? It's human nature to flinch.' I said, 'Dude, you're crazy, but you're not that crazy.' But he's been a good friend of mine for a long time. I thought it was funny"
Kobe on his relationship with Vince Carter: "We played on probably the best AAU team of all time. It was him, myself, Tim Thomas (who played 13 seasons in the NBA), we had a team that was just amazing. We played in Paterson, NJ, and that was the first time I had seen him play up close. He was the highest jumper I had ever seen. When he came into the league, it was a time where I was pretty established and he was coming up. And we had a nice rivalry. Every time I played against him I was really going after him. To see him out there still playing and competing and dunking tonight, now I take a great sense of joy and pride because we came from the same generation."
Kobe on his favorite place to eat in Memphis: "That's a question I have never received. It used to be, uh, what's the name of it, I think B.B. King's. He has a spot out here, right? But recently, you know, I haven't been here in like three years because I've been hurt. So I'm probably dating myself a little bit."
Kobe on if a team that plays like the Grizzlies have played over the last half decade can win in today's NBA (this was my question): "Of course. The league is always a league of followers. A team wins the championship, and then everybody else tries to copy it - it's just the way the league has always been. All it takes is for a team to play to their strengths, whatever it is, and if they win a championship, then other teams will try and copy that."
Kobe Bryant gave probably one of the best interviews I've ever heard in a media scrum setting. All of his answers were thoughtful and honest, and he didn't ramble. He answered the question that was asked and that's all, but if you asked the right question, you got a fantastic answer.