If there was one player who completely made you believe ‘2 points aren’t 2 points’, it was Kobe Bryant. As a basketball great himself, Kevin Durant recognizes the amount of skill that goes into that.
Basketball is a game that relies a lot on athleticism and aspects that come genetically. Your chances of becoming a professional basketball player as a normal-sized human being are virtually nil.
Even in such a game, however, the highest level of competition is one that tests the mental and skill-based aspects of a player much more than his physical prowess.
Because a professional athlete has been through those pressures, (s)he can recognize the challenges faced by their peers. That’s the biggest reason why there’s such a huge disconnect between some players’ opinions and some fans’ opinions on matters of technicality.
Kobe Bryant is among the most polarizing players the NBA has ever seen. He’s often been underrated in mainstream media because of the narrative built around him his whole career.
Kevin Durant explains how Kobe Bryant dominated the league in his prime on Knuckleheads Podcast
Kevin Durant was a 2-time guest on possibly the best basketball-related podcast show on YouTube. He described his experience of watching Bryant as a high school kid in his first appearance in the following fashion:
“That 05-06 season, I was staying up late, senior year of high school, watching him going to work. I watched that 81-point game live. And when he go to cooking that night, I’m like ‘This is the greatest player I’ve ever seen, dawg!’ I really thought that, that night.”
“He’s shooting fades. He’s coming into the lane stopping on a dime, giving 2 pump fakes right before the shot on the 3rd.”
“All the best defenders that I heard of in the league. Coming up, right before I got into the league – Bruce Bowen, Shane Battier, the Raja Bells. He was really going right at them and he was really trying to punk ’em.”
“They were good defenders. They got paid for playing defense. But Kobe was like ‘Nah, you ain’t getting the Kobe-stopper name. Ruben Patterson? Stop.”
“He was too good in the league because the rest of the 2-guards in the league were catch-and-shoot guys. Or they were great defenders. Or they could really shoot, those pick-and-roll guys. There was not really a complete 2-guard around at that time, not real complete like Kobe.”