Bill Russell reminded us of Kobe Bryant’s greatness on Sunday

The greatest rivalry in NBA history is the one between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.

That rivalry was put into perspective on Sunday.

Bill Russell is Mr. Celtic, and the late Kobe Bryant is arguably Mr. Laker. Both had immeasurable impacts on the winningest franchises in basketball.

On Sunday, Russell made headlines by putting the rivalry aside to honor his friend, a testament to the greatness of Kobe.

Note to Mr. Russell: Don’t ever feel the need to explain yourself.

You are the definition of a class act.

Russell wasn’t the only Celtic to remember Bryant on Sunday.

Kobe’s memorial service will be held at STAPLES Center on Monday, and over the past week, some of Bryant’s greatest rivals have continued to show respect to the Mamba.

Dwyane Wade – Mr. Heat – leaned on Kobe during his jersey retirement speech on Saturday night.

Wade – who once broke Kobe’s nose in an All-Star Game – shared a moment with NBA great Allen Iverson at last Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Iverson and Kobe shared arguably the fiercest on-court rivalry in the history of both of their careers.

Remember this?

One of the most iconic moments in NBA history.

Today, Iverson is one of Kobe’s staunchest supporters.

Another of Kobe’s greatest rivals was Tony Allen, a man that Bryant deemed the toughest defender he ever faced.

As much as Kobe respected Allen, the former Memphis Grizzlies guard respected Bryant even more.

Allen’s only regret is he didn’t get to speak to Kobe more after their careers ended.

Going back to Sunday’s game, other members of the Celtics, making their first visit to STAPLES since Kobe’s passing, paid their respects to the late Lakers legend.

Even though the Lakers won, Tatum – a protege of Bryant’s – scored 41 points, surely with Kobe on his mind.

True greatness is earning the respect of your greatest rivals.

And Kobe did just that.