NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein says Kobe Bryant broke up his friendship with Pau Gasol after Gasol joined the Lakers, Goldstein told SI's Lee Jenkins on the Open Floor Podcast.
Goldstein, who has been a fixture at Lakers and Clippers games for decades, said he and Gasol were very good friends when the Spanish forward played in Memphis. Gasol was traded to the Lakers during the 2007-08 season, and he says their friendship ended.
"After he joined the Lakers he suddenly stopped talking to me," Goldstein said, "and I didn't understand it until he came up to me during the All-Star game, gave me a big hug and apologized because he said Kobe didn't want him to talk to me."
Goldstein said he and Bryant have been on better terms during the last few weeks following a courtside interaction, when Goldstein mentioned ESPN wanted to interview him about Bryant.
"Now we have suddenly a friendship," Goldstein told SI. "So I can see that his retirement has changed everything."
Bryant will play the final game of his 20-year NBA career on Wednesday when the Lakers host the Jazz.