Kobe Bryant’s competitive streak and work ethic is the stuff of legends. You don’t become as great as he was over such an extended period of time without an extraordinary commitment to your craft.
But this can be true while also acknowledging Kobe as an odd dude. In a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, Bryant talked about his obsession with 76ers star Allen Iverson early in his career, and the route he took to try to stop him on the court with the Lakers:
Kobe Bryant’s strategy for guarding Allen Iverson is certifiably insane https://t.co/dhkcml8zpD #sixers pic.twitter.com/Xf0i3Y6qdj
— Sixers News (@sixersnewsfeed) April 18, 2017
No one said Kobe Bryant was normal and the way he talks about how he went about marking former 76ers point guard proves it.
In a piece written by the legend himself, Kobe notes the great lengths he went to mark Iverson, having watched every piece of tape and read every book he could find on him.
« Working harder wasn’t enough. I had to study this man maniacally. I obsessively read every article and book I could find about AI. I obsessively watched every game he had played, going back to the IUPU All-American Game. I obsessively studied his every success, and his every struggle. I obsessively searched for any weakness I could find. I searched the world for musings to add to my AI Musecage. This led me to study how great white sharks hunt seals off the coast of South Africa. The patience. The timing. The angles. »
Kobe lived, ate, and breathed Allen Iverson much like an obsessive ex who clings onto a breakup. Iverson should have had a restraining order against the former Lakers point guard.
But Bryant was quick to justify his obsession.
Kobe recalls being livid at the way he was ridiculed after Iverson ran riot over him and the Lakers in 1999, putting up 41 points. Bryant wanted his haters to « choke on their laughter » which is perhaps a bit far, signifying he took his match-up against Iverson to heart.
Iverson will perhaps be relieved both of the men are no longer on the court as who knows what could have happened after this explosive revelation.