Lakers icon Kobe Bryant explains why the Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was the toughest player he ever guarded at their prime.
In his 20-years long career, Bryant played against many great players. Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and the list goes on. But the one player who gave the Black Mamba a hard time on the defensive end was Kevin Durant.
Back in 2018, in an interview on “The Corp With A-Rod and Big Cat” Kobe revealed how the current Brooklyn star gave Bryant a hard time defensively. Kobe stated how initially Durant was easy to guard but then developed his game, making him dangerous to defend.
“Kevin Durant. That was the one that I retired without really being able to figure out what it is– how I can stop him. When he first came into the league, he was easy to defend because he couldn’t go right and shoot.”
“He shot kinda across his face so that was a weakness that he had. Also, in the post, he couldn’t turn left shoulder, everything was right shoulder so that gave me areas that I could shut off.”
“I even retired not being able to figure out how to stop Kevin Durant”: Kobe Bryant
In the 36 games the two superstars played against each other in their career, Bryant has the upper hand leading KD 19-17. Despite getting outscored 26.9-25.9 in those games against Durant, Mamba managed to win more games.
The Hall-Of-Famer further added how, once Durant developed his game gaining a few years of experience, he became almost impossible for Kobe to guard.
“Right then, he started developing so I developed it and now he can pull up left, he can pull upright, he can shoot the long ball, he has runners, left hand, right hand.”
“Before he had a left-hand finish at the rim, I could always send him left, forcing him all the way to the basket, even with the advantages of besides, he was still uncomfortable finishing with his left so I could clamp the right hand, and now forced him into a tough situation. But now he’s developed that so I retired not being able to figure him out.”
Being the inspiration Kobe was for the younger generation of players, Kevin would most definitely be honoured to hear the legend Kobe Bryant talk about him this way.