On Wednesday, Kobe Bryant is back in Boston one final time to play in front of the sea of Boston Celtics' green in the stands. One last time, Bryant will dance on the Celtics' famous parquet floor. More than most, Wednesday's game is special for the 37-year-old.
Prior to taking off on the Lakers' current three-game road trip, Bryant could barely contain his excitement in anticipation of facing the ferocious fan base at the TD Garden. Asked about which Christmas Day memory stood out to him over the years, Bryant brought up the 2009 game against the Boston Celtics. From there, the topic of the Celtics sprung eternal.
Bryant went on to reveal that he spent two years listening to a song by the band Journey because the arena had played it in 2008 and the crowd had sung along to celebrate the Celtics claiming the 2008 title over Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant also added that he listened to the band Dropkick Murphys every day to "remember that feeling."
Favorite Kobe-Boston memory: Kobe smiling, humming Dropkick Murphy's "I'm shipping up to Boston" in the Lakers locker room after a 2010 win. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 29, 2015
The five-time champion's maniacal methods make him sound like a madman at times, but his results sell out arenas all over the country, as he bids farewell on his final marathon NBA season.
Wednesday in Boston, though, feels different. This time, Bryant may get booed. The crowd could get hostile. It could be rougher than the other stops, where Bryant has been roundly applauded, welcomed and celebrated. If any city could respectfully jeer Bryant this season and get a nod of approval, Boston would be that city.
Bryant and Boston have dreams and nightmares about one another. Bryant dreams of the 2010 win over the Celtics like Boston dreams of the 2008 win over the Bryant's Lakers. The 2008 NBA Finals caused Bryant sleepless nights, just as the 2010 Finals had the city of Boston screaming in its sleep.
Ultimately, the Celtics' "Big Three" combination of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen only yielded one NBA title. Bryant and Pau Gasol combined to capture two championships during that same era, including a seven-game thriller over current Clippers coach Doc Rivers and the Celtics in 2010. Rivers also brought former Celtics forward Paul Pierce to the Clippers.
After losing to the Clippers on Christmas, Bryant shared an exchange he had with teammate Metta World Peace, who came up big for the Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals. Bryant said, "I was telling Metta (World Peace) on the bench when Paul [Piece] was running back and down. I said, 'You know, Metta, I'm so damn happy we won that 2010 Finals because I'd be so sick as [expletive] sitting here right now.'"
Bryant's favorite color is green, but he can't stomach Celtics' green.
"There's something about that green," Bryant said. "It's a different green than any other green that's out in the world. It's weird. It's like that green glows."
Bryant added, "So, I'm looking forward to being [in Boston] and competing in that environment one more time."
One last time, Bryant will tip-off against the Celtics in Boston at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.