Former Philly legend Allen Iverson explains how he and Kobe Bryant pushed each other to greatness whenever they faced off in their career.
Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are two of the greatest players in the history of the league. Both these legends entered the league together, and in no time found instant success with the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.
In the 13 years that they both played in the league together, the all-time greats went at it against each other on 38 instances. Even though AI managed to out-score (26.6-25.1), out-assist (6.4-5.5) and out-steal (2.1-1.2) Kobe, it was the Mamba who got the last laugh winning 24 of their 38 meetings.
In fact, it was Bryant who defeated Allen during his one and only trip to the NBA Finals, despite which, the Mamba and the Answer had the utmost respect for each other. The two even shared a loving relation after Allen decided to hang his boots in 2010.
Allen Iverson talks about Kobe Bryant and their incredible rivalry
Back in 2020, Allen Iverson gave an interview to “The Players’ Tribune”. The former 11-time All-Star spoke about his favourite rival and dear friend – the late Kobe Bryant.
“Me and you, every single time we stepped on that floor, we were going to war. But it wasn’t an animosity thing. There was never any beef. It was like heavyweight fighters beating the hell out of one another. And then at the bell, it’s nothing but love and respect. Greatness needs company, and we needed each other. Mike needed Prince like Prince needed Mike. Tyson needed Holyfield like Holyfield needed Tyson.”
“Everybody needs that person to say, Oh, you’re the sh*t, huh? Well I’m the sh*t, too. Greatness needs company, and we needed each other. Mike needed Prince like Prince needed Mike.”
“And boy, you were the sh*t. You were the toughest man that I’ve ever seen in this game. The most cold-blooded serial killer I’ve ever seen. The fiercest competitor I’ve ever seen.“
“What I love about that story is, it’s the truth. That was just our relationship. Two dudes pushing each other to greatness. The next time you came through Philly, you were ALL up in my sh*t. There was no half-stepping you. Every first step, I had to go 100. You’re 6′ 6″, and it was like you wanted to guard me. You wanted the challenge. You wanted to show me that you were the baddest motherf***er to ever play the game. And I didn’t want ANY part of Kobe Bryant on the other end!!!”