1998: Monty Williams vs Kobe Bryant Fight
“If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear” – Kobe
Kobe Bryant has done a pretty good job of avoiding on the court fights over his long career but in his first few years, the young hot head with a mini fro was quick to show his frustration and get into physical altercations with opponents: In 2002, he fought Reggie Miller which ended up costing him $12,500 and a 2 game suspension and 2 years earlier, he was suspended for throwing an elbow and getting punched in the jaw twice by the Knick’s Chris Childs.
Two years before the childish Childs incident, in a regular season match-up against the rival Spurs, Nick Van Exel and Monty Williams got into a scuffle and Kobe found himself in the middle as he tried to stop the fight and ended up getting shoved to the ground by the Monty Williams. Kobe was spared fines and suspensions but Nick the Quick and Monty were suspended 2 games each and fined $10k and $5k. The Spurs Reggie Geary and Will Perdue along with Shaq were also fined $5k each.
“They can take 10 and give it to charity,’ O’Neal said about his fine. “I think it’s very unfair, Karl Malone elbows David (Robinson) head off his shoulders and he gets one game. Nick gets a scrub off of him, and he gets two games. What’s he supposed to do in a situation like that, get beat up on national TV?”
Well, Nick didn’t have the best rep with the league front office so it was no surprise he would get a such a stern punishment (bad pun intended).
As for Kobe and that “scrub,” Bryant had his revenge against Williams 13 years later when he became the youngest player to ever score 30,000 points against Monty’s New Orleans’ team. Before the game, Coach Monty wasn’t too thrilled at the thought.
“I don’t want to see him score any points. Obviously, from an NBA standpoint, people get caught up with that stuff. But he’s beaten me too many times over the years for me to worry about him scoring more points. I hope he has 10 turnovers to go with however many points he has tonight.’’