Were you upset last June when the Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn? Even though you knew the day was coming eventually, did you shed a basketball tear at the end of the era and loss of a longshot last hurrah?

Well, you had company. Across the continent, Kobe Bryant felt your pain — and some of his own.

“Absolutely,” he said recently after a Lakers practice that went on without him and his fractured left knee. “It was tough to see that happen. I mean, going against Paul and KG, Lakers-Celtics? That’s good basketball.”

Bryant shook his head and hit the memory button on his mind’s DVR.

“When we played against them, you saw really good basketball,” Kobe said. “You saw smart players, unselfish players who played both ends of the floor, multi-faceted players.

“So of course I’d hoped for a team like that to stick together, because that’s the maximum level of competition that you’re going to have. I mean, that 2010 series is my favorite series of all time, just because it was the most competitive one. It was the most difficult one. I mean, we’re going against four future Hall of Famers. That doesn’t happen too often.”

Having lost the 2008 Finals to the Celtics in six games and come back to win in seven two years later, Bryant smiled and admitted he’d harbored the hope that the two fabled franchises could thread the NBA needle and meet in the rubber match this spring.

He laughed long and hard when it was suggested that such a series might resemble Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro starring in “Grudge Match.”

“Yeah,” Kobe said, “but in boxing it looks a little bit different than it does in a team sport. In a team sport, you can hide a little bit more. But, of course. As a competitor, you want to be able to see that and face them.”

Sitting on a hallway table at the Lakers’ practice facility, Bryant then chose to unburden himself of a deep, dark secret. Despite being sidelined, he talked of making the road trip with the Lakers and, in particular, tonight’s Garden stop. His voice lowered to just above a whisper. Kobe was serious, and Kobe was smiling.

“I love it,” he said. “I love going into Boston. I love playing there. I mean, the fans are incredible, because, you know, they’re nasty, but they appreciate the game. They appreciate good basketball. They appreciate players who go out there and just leave it all on the court. You know, friend or foe, they have an appreciation for it.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to interact a little bit with the crowd, absolutely. I’ll have a chance to kind of look around and look at the numbers in the rafters and kind of appreciate it a little bit more. Absolutely, because when you play, you know, you’ve got your blinders on. You’ve got tunnel vision. This will be good.”

If you’re slightly stunned at Bryant’s affection for a place that, at least outwardly, appears to hold so little of it for him, that’s certainly fair. Kobe’s a little surprised, as well. He once again recounted his 1996 pre-draft visit to Boston, putting on Celtics gear and working out with then-assistant coach Dennis Johnson.