During an interview with Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com, Jalen Rose confirmed what many fans had suspected for years: He intentionally injured Kobe Bryant during the 2000 NBA Finals when Rose’s Indiana Pacers were up against the Los Angeles Lakers, featuring Shaquille O’Neal and a young Bryant.
Right after Bryant expanded the Los Angeles Lakers lead by three points, he came down hard and writhed in pain on the floor. Rose came up with the ball and led the charge to the other end of the court, missing a three-pointer off the rim. You can watch a video of the incident play out below.
“Kobe Bean Bryant goes up for a jump shot out on the right wing,” Rose said during the Grantland podcast. “I contest the jump shot. Kobe lands on my foot. He hobbles off and actually misses the next game. If it was up to me, he should’ve just missed the whole series. I would’ve had a championship ring and it would’ve been no harm, no foul.
“I think I did it on purpose. I can’t say that it was an accident.”
Bryant would eventually go on to help the Lakers win the championship, his first of five titles. Rose would later be a member of the Toronto Raptors team that was at the receiving end of Bryant’s now-famous 81-point performance.
While Bryant still reigns as one of the NBA’s major superstars, Rose has made a name for himself as an outspoken basketball analyst on ESPN. Along with his Grantland podcast, Rose also contributes to College Game Day and as an announcer.
He’s also a contributor on the popular talking heads show “First Take,” where Rose made news recently for exposing the oft-maligned Skip Bayless’ exaggerations about his own playing career. During the argument, Rose attacks Bayless’s credibility because he played on the junior varsity basketball team as a junior in high school.