NEW YORK (AP) — While Madison Square Garden was buzzing Friday night, so was Kobe Bryant's phone.
Carmelo Anthony was on his way to a 62-point night, moving past Bryant's total of 61 that had stood for nearly five years as the record in the building. And plenty of people wanted to make sure Bryant knew.
"I got a lot of messages from people saying Melo's going after your record tonight," Bryant said. "It's amazing. He went to work. He got hot and didn't cool off."
Bryant wasn't able to play when the Lakers returned to the building on Sunday, still recovering from a broken left knee. He said he had called Anthony, his friend and teammate on the last two U.S. Olympic teams, on Friday night to congratulate him.
Bryant said that having the arena's record wasn't particularly important to him, but did stress how much the building meant.
"This is the Mecca of basketball. There's so much history here in the culture of the game, what this building means. This is the last one left in terms of all the history," Bryant said, naming former Knicks such as Willis Reed and Walt Frazier. "This is the last building left that carries that history with it."
Anthony will have to decide this summer if he wants to keep playing in it.
He intends to become a free agent, and the Lakers are frequently mentioned as a potential destination if he decides to leave.