This season, we've seen a "nicer" Kobe Bryant, who seems a bit more loose than usual with retirement looming. Last night, more pleasantries from Bryant for a somewhat surprising recipient.

Thought he sat out the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center, Bryant took some time to meet with Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. During their exchange, Bryant gifted Allen with a signed pair of his personal Nike Kobe 11 sneakers. A closer look at the inscription revealed some high praise for Allen: "To the best defender I ever faced."

Bryant and Allen's greatest battles date back to the 2008 NBA Finals, when Allen's Celtics got the best of the Lakers. Two years later, Bryant got his revenge. Allen is widely regarded as one of the NBA's best defensive players. Ironically, Bryant probably stole one or two First Team All-Defense nods from the man now known as the "Grindfather."

Kobe Bryant Tony Allen Best Defender Sneakers (1)