Kobe Bryant was the most confident player in NBA history, even ahead of Michael Jordan.
The Black Mamba was never going to be intimidated. Regardless of what he was doing, he felt like he could beat everybody else in the world, mostly because he worked harder than anybody else.
That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see him say that he could easily take down LeBron James one on one, as he did during his time with Team USA in 2010:
“I win, I win. That’s what I know. One-on-one is … that’s easy. Playing one-on-one is how I grew up playing. It’s like my thing. LeBron is more like Magic Johnson. He’s a great passer, plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I’m a one-on-one player. I’d do that in my sleep,” Kobe said in an interview.
That’s Kobe 101 right there. Even if he felt like taking down a prime LeBron James would be a tough task, he was never going to give him anything.
Kobe just had a feel for trash-talking, especially when it came to superstar players. He knew that LeBron was on the rise and on the verge of becoming the best player on the planet, yet he never hesitated that he could beat him one-on-one.
That’s one of the many things we loved and miss so much about Kobe Bryant. His never-ending drive and competitive spirit helped him sort any obstacle or hurdle he faced throughout his career, inspiring others to live by that same standards.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who could beat who one-on-one, and those of us who got to witness both James and Kobe master their craft and dominate the league are just privileged. Then again, we would’ve loved to watch that, just for the sake of the argument.