Kobe Bryant was confident when talking about matching up against Tracy McGrady, claiming to have ‘cooked and roasted’ him.
Kobe Bryant once stated that Tracy McGrady was one of the hardest players he’d ever had to guard because he could do everything he could, but was 6’9. The two had a tremendous amount of similarities both with the way they came into the league and their overall game.
Both Bryant and McGrady came into the NBA straight out of high school and the latter signed with Adidas after seeing the Lakers rookie go with them as well. Their game on the offensive end of the floor was quite comparable as well, everything from the turnaround jumpers from the mid-post to the explosiveness off the perimeter.
Despite Tracy McGrady having the obvious skill to be a number one or two option on a title contender, things didn’t pan out for him the way they did for Kobe Bryant.
Unfortunate injuries to him and to his co-stars like Grant Hill limited T-Mac’s postseason success while ‘Bean’ thrived with guys like Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol.
Kobe Bryant on facing off against Tracy McGrady.
During an interview with ESPN in his 17th season in the league, Kobe Bryant dished on a variety of aspects of his career. Of course, when doing something like this, the topic of 1v1s comes up quite often. When asked about how it went with Tracy McGrady, ‘The Black Mamba’ confidently said:
“I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you. When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promo stuff for that other sneaker company and we played basketball every day.”
“We were in the gym all the time. We played 3 games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2. After the third game, he said he had back spasms and couldn’t play anymore.”
These are the same games Kobe and Tracy were hilariously arguing about in a sit-down interview together years later following the former’s retirement from the game, where McGrady said they weren’t keeping score.