Kobe Bryant and the state of Colorado have never seen eye-to-eye. On the court, Bryant is 3-0 in playoff series against the Nuggets. Off the court, Eagle, Colorado, was the setting for Bryant's 2003 sexual-assault allegation.
On Wednesday, Bryant was all smiles in the Centennial State. Despite only playing 11 minutes with a nagging shoulder injury, Bryant shared laughs with young Denver fans. He even took off the shoes on his feet, signed them and gave them to young fans.
ESPN's Baxter Holmes explains:
"They earned them," Bryant said after playing his final game in Denver. "The young ladies that were sitting in front of them did, too. We had a little contest going on. They wanted to know what the name of our pet dog was. I just gave them a clue. I said it's in a [Harry] Potter film. So every timeout, they’d throw out 15 names. The deal was, if they got it, I’d give them my shoes. So they got it. They got it.".
According to Holmes, the dog's name is "Crucio."
Bryant also reportedly signed other jerseys and paraphernalia. When asked about what it is like to feel appreciated in an arena he was once hated, Bryant said, "I think it's fantastic. I think it's great."
The Nuggets face off with Bryant one more time, March 25 in Los Angeles.