Kobe Bryant is one of the best 1-on-1 players in basketball history. When he was in his prime, few things were scarier for defenders than being isolated against Kobe, especially when he was cooking.
It’s impossible to know how many hours Kobe put in during practice from the time he was a kid to become a 1-on-1 god. Hell, even if you ask Kobe to put a number on it, he’d probably struggle to give you a definite answer. He will, however, tell you with 700,000,000 percent certainty that he has never lost a game of 1-on-1 in his life.
This was actually Kobe's face when I asked him if anyone's beaten him 1-on-1 😂
Look at how angry Kobe is about this question! He has always been one of the more confident human beings on earth, but he legitimately seems offended that anyone would question his dominance on the basketball court.
The best thing is, there are so many examples stories that involve Kobe’s ability playing 1-on-1. There’s the time he said that he’s the greatest 1-on-1 player to ever live. There’s the time he and Tracy McGrady had conflicting stories about them playing 1-on-1 (Kobe said he “cooked” and “roasted” T-Mac, something that the former Raptors star denied). There’s the time a former Lakers teammate told a hilarious story about how he had to play Kobe in 1-on-1 and never got to touch the ball on offense.
Oh, and on that last thing, a handful of ex-Lakers told a delightful story about the time J.R. Rider joined the team in 2000 and immediately started telling Kobe he could beat him in 1-on-1. I won’t spoil the whole story because you should absolutely read it, but practice stopped so the two could play, and Kobe apparently beat Rider so badly that Horace Grant said “J.R. wanted to fight everybody in the gym.”
Even though tomorrow is technically the last NBA game Kobe will ever play, we’re willing to bet that he’ll still take anyone in 1-on-1 for the rest of his life.