Kobe Bryant's quest for his sixth championship this season went beyond wanting to further cement his legacy.
He also knew this might be the last chance for the late owner Jerry Buss to collect another one.
"We talked about getting another championships and trying to put the Celtics in the rearview mirror, Bryant said of the heated rival that will play the Lakers (25-29) tonight at Staples Center. "That's something that was driving him and something that continues to drive me."
Boston (28-25) has 17 NBA titles, one more than the Lakers.
The Lakers will wear "JB" patches on their jersey for the rest of the season in honor of Buss dying Monday from an unspecified form of cancer that affected his kidneys. Bryant remains appreciative of Buss' presence for reasons beyond bringing the Lakers 10 of their 16 championships since purchasing the team in 1979.
Buss also talked Bryant out of wanting to leave the Lakers after requesting a trade in 2007.
"I had to make a choice and decision to believe in him," Bryant said. "That wasn't hard to do once I took a step back and looked at everything that he's accomplished and had a chance to sit down with him."
Bryant said he's "very confident" the Lakers can maintain the same success headed by Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and Lakers vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss.
Kobe Bryant reflects on late owner
L.A. Daily News | Feb 20