Stephen A. Smith: Kobe Bryant 'scared the living s--- out of me'
Late Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith: Kobe Bryant 'scared the living s--- out of me'

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has offered the latest tale regarding the intense nature of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. 

"Kobe scared the living s--- out of me," Smith admitted Wednesday during an appearance on "The Howard Stern Show," per the Barrett Sports Media website. "Kobe was a savant. You did not know more basketball than Kobe Bryant. So when Kobe called you — I can quote him for you right now." 

Smith then went on to share a story about a voicemail he received from Bryant during the five-time NBA champion's playing career. That message contained multiple f-bombs and also a threat that "your a-- better not go on the air and say some more s--- before you talk to me." Nevertheless, such responses didn't stop Smith from giving honest opinions whenever he felt Bryant may not have been doing right by the team. 

"I would say something along the lines of 'I don’t like the way he’s playing. It’s selfish basketball…I don’t like this decision,'" Smith recalled. 

Bryant's work ethic and competitiveness were the stuff of legend even before he retired following the 2015-16 NBA season. This past September, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni explained how he used a not-safe-for-work clip about Bryant running "through" the chest of friend and Lakers teammate Pau Gasol from the Netflix "Redeem Team" documentary during a pre-game talk.

"I don’t know why I love your a--," Bryant supposedly would say to Smith. "I really, really, don’t. But I love you."

The three-year anniversary of Bryant's tragic passing will arrive on Jan. 26. Fans can expect to hear and read stories similar to Smith's about the all-time great in the days leading up to that sad occasion. 

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