Step aside Bruce Bowen, move along Metta World Peace, the best defender of Kobe Bryant is none other than Tony Allen. Yes, Kobe said this before, earlier this season in fact. But he made it official in his recent visit to Memphis, gifting Allen a signed pair of shoes with the inscription: “To Tony, the best defender I ever faced.”
Why was Tony Allen the best? Allow Kobe to explain.
“Bruce Bowen was a great defender. Bruce is a great defensive player. Raja Bell was a great defensive player.”
“Ruben Patterson did a great job. But Tony Allen played one-on-one defense. He never funneled me anywhere. His job was to stay in front of me and just hound me the entire game.”
This clip from the 2008 NBA Finals perfectly illustrates what Kobe’s referring to. It’s a bit lengthy (unnecessarily I might add) but you get the idea.