When Kobe Bryant first entered the league, three players on the current Bucks roster weren’t even a year old. Head coach Jason Kidd was playing in just his third season in the league and no player on today’s Bucks team was in the league until ten years later when newly acquired Bucks member Steve Novak made his NBA debut.

Members of the Bucks were asked about what it was like to play against Kobe Bryant one last time. For those with little experience facing the Black Mamba, they were asked what there favorite memory of Bryant was growing up.

Jabari Parker told BrewHoop’s Aron Yohannes, “I remember when I started watching basketball ā€” like 7th and 8th grade ā€” and really sitting down and watching him dissect the game. Nobody was ever close to even competing against him, that was something amazing back then.”

Greg Monroe when asked about playing against Kobe, “It was weird at first, but when they’re out there trying to beat you (players you idolize), it goes away pretty quickly. I just remember my rookie year, the first time I saw him play, one thing that stood out for me was his feet. When he had the ball on offense, his footwork was impeccable honestly. He was so efficient using his feet, getting to his spots. His footwork was just amazing to me.”

In his career versus the Bucks, Bryant is averaging 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. This will be the 32nd, and final, meeting.

In their only other encounter this season, a 113-95 Lakers win, Kobe scored 22 points on 7-15 shooting and dished out 6 assists.

Battling a finger injury, a back-to-back road game is a prime time for Kobe Bryant to take a night off, but when asked about playing in Milwaukee Monday following Sunday night’s game in Chicago, Kobe responded, “Absolutely I’m playing tomorrow. It’s not right. If I can get out there and play, I’m going to play. If I wrap my finger up multiple times, I’ll do that. If I can walk, I’ll play”

The 37-year old has been doing his best to keep fans happy during his farewell tour this year. Playing in his 20th season, time has definitely caught up to Bryant.

A career full of accomplishments, championships, and accolades, it is hard to believe the Bucks once passed up drafting Bryant in the 1996 NBA Draft. Perhaps one of the greatest drafts ever, Kobe went 13th overall to the Hornets before being traded to the Lakers, a draft where the Bucks ended up with Ray Allen.

Milwaukee is coming off an impressive 117-109 double overtime at Atlanta and are looking to make it four wins in their last five games.

Bucks and Lakers tip off at 7:00 CT.

Photo courtesy of NBA.com.