The Untold Stories Behind Kobe, Kevin Durant, and the NBA’s Greatest Friendships


The Untold Stories Behind Kobe, Kevin Durant, and the NBA’s Greatest Friendships

Written by: Chris Nieratko Design by: Samira Idroos Photography by: Atiba Jefferson

Basketball, like skateboarding, shares a universal language of love. There's something magical about both sports that bridges all language and cultural boundaries. An instinctive and undeniable bond of friendship is born amongst strangers the moment you catch a glimpse of that orange leather ball or four-wheeled wooden deck.

Legendary photographer Atiba Jefferson tied his heart to both basketball and skateboarding at a young age and has made it his lifelong goal to document all aspects of his two biggest passions. For the past 20 years, Atiba has shot the biggest names in both worlds and served as the most renowned visual documentarian of the two unique lifestyles. From staff photographer for the NBA and Slam Magazine to founder/photo editor of The Skateboard Magazine, Atiba has captured everyone of note over the past two decades including Kobe Bryant during multiple championship runs, LeBron James in his first high school photo shoot, Tony Hawk, Eric Koston, celebrity fans like Drake and 2 Chainz, and countless other star athletes and celebrities.

Initially shown in New Orleans during All-Star Weekend 2017, Jefferson's photography collection of the most beloved ballers, past and present, is a part of Bud Light's commitment to championing friendship in the NBA. The photos are a testament to the brotherhood we all join the moment we pick up a ball. Basketball serves as the great equalizer; there is no hierarchy when it comes to the love of the game. The instant we hear the ball bounce the rest of the world is drowned out and we all become one. The commonality of physical action negates any differences in dialect between Yao Ming and Steve Francis. It is the shared love of victory that makes a loving embrace between a five-time NBA champ and a young photographer from Manitou Springs, Colorado, seem completely normal.

When we step on any court we are friends first, competitors second.

(From Bud Light CrewHQ)