Former LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant played lockdown defense on Heat Star Dwyane Wade and made him go to his weaker left side all the time.
Kobe was an unstoppable offensive player, but he quietly will go down as one of the greatest defensive players of all time. Kobe didn’t do anything too crazy on defense, but he loved guarding the opposing team’s best player. Additionally, he was a great off-ball and help defender.
Kobe Bryant was an astute student of the game. He spent countless hours working on his craft, both on offense and defense. As a result, Kobe was a master of knowing where the defense would set up on offense. Also, he was great at jumping into passing lanes and coming up with steals.
There is a reason why he made a total of 12 All-Defensive teams throughout his career, but he still never managed to capture the DPOY Award. Ask any of his teammates or opponents, and they will vouch for his great defense. In this case, it turned to be Dwyane Wade when the Lakers went to Miami to face Wade’s Heat.
Heat legend Dwyane Wade recalls Kobe Bryant pressing him full court as a sign that he’s ‘got respect now’
Dwyane Wade recollects how Bryant, who has already a superstar in the league at that time, welcomed Wade to the NBA by applying some choking full-court defense on him.
“I remember when Kobe first picked me up at 94 feet.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 25, 2020
In a conversation on an Instagram Live with Steph Curry, he goes on to say –
“When I first got in the league, Steph, I couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean, like I couldn’t shoot, so everyone backed all the way to the rim. And then I remember the game when I first remember we were playing the Lakers, we was playing against Kobe, and I remember when Kobe first picked me up 94 feet.”
“Because at first, he would pick me up underneath the 3-point line, go under two screens, and let me shoot. So, the moment where guys started picking me up 94 feet because they didn’t want me to touch the basketball, that’s the moment I was like, ‘oh okay, I got their respect now,’ you know what I’m saying.”
However, it’s not Wade like needs Kobe’s respect to realise his greatness. He already had a championship and Finals MVP at the time to show for that.
That was obviously a pretty awesome experience for Wade and one that he remembers fondly to this very day. As a result, it is only fitting for Wade to associate that memory with him.