Kobe Bryant‘s been a Laker for half of his life now. Even before that, he was in love with the purple and gold: he grew up watching Magic Johnson on video tapes that his grandparents sent out to Italy for him to study.

So, when the hated Boston Celtics called him in for a pre-draft workout back in 1996, he wasn’t too fond of the idea at first. The worst part? Wearing that horrible, disgusting color that Laker fans loathe: green.

Here’s what the Mamba said, according to ESPN:

When Bryant’s handlers told him the Celtics, who held the sixth pick, wanted him to come in, the 17-year-old high school kid flatly refused. kobe-celtics-workout

“They said, ‘What do you mean no?”‘ Kobe said. “I was such a Lakers fan and I just hated the Celtics. They said, ‘C’mon now, you have to do this.’ So I asked them, ‘But do I have to wear all that green stuff?“‘

Yes, he did. When he arrived at the workout facility, he was handed a green workout shirt and matching green shorts. He did dribbling and shooting drills with Dennis Johnson, a former All-Star turned assistant coach, then did some half-court offensive drills. (Kobe even tweeted a photo of his workout on Wednesday.)

“DJ was awesome, actually,” Kobe said. “Once I got there I had to admit, ‘Hey, this wasn’t as bad as I thought.’ I had a great time. It was just getting past all that god-awful green stuff.”

I love it.

Kobe even went onto say that he was a “die-hard Lakers fan”:

So who would Kobe rather be right now: a Laker or a Celtic?

I’d take the Lakers, for sure,” Kobe answered. “Honestly, I like where we are. I like the pieces we have. We’re still a pretty big team. If we get our guys healthy, I think we can make a significant run at it.

“So I’ll take my guys. And, even if I felt differently, I’m such a die-hard Lakers fan I’d never admit to wanting to be them,” meaning the Celtics.

Let’s hope he stays a Laker for life.