Back in 2015, Celtics legend Paul Pierce explained the killer mentality Kobe Bryant approached each and every game with.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest icons the sporting world has been privileged to witness. After dedicating uncountable hours in the gym, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Black Mamba really reached the pinnacle of the game at the end of his career.
Bean had a work ethic unlike any others and had a crazy obsession with perfecting his craft. The sheer competitive spirit he possessed and his fixation to be the best at any given point is what help him set apart from the rest of the superstars.
Kobe really had one of the most decorated resumes in NBA history. At the conclusion of his illustrious 20-year career, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard had 18 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 12 All-Defensive selections, 5 championships, 2 Finals MVPs and even an MVP. Knocking down almost 12,000 shots throughout his career, there was virtually no player who completely stopped Kobe. Being such a prolific scorer, players would absolutely hate playing against Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe Bryant is the closest I’ve come to facing a Michael Jordan-type determination in my career”: Paul Pierce
Back in 2015, Paul Pierce sat down with “The Players’ Tribune” and was asked to name the five toughest players he has ever guarded. Apart from mentioning LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Carmelo Anthony and Vince Carter, the Celtics legend even named Kobe Bryant. Pierce wrote about the Black Mamba:
“I still remember watching his 81-point game, I think everybody who watched that game remembers where they were — it was one of those special moments in sports, I was sitting in my basement with my friends playing dominos. And I looked up at a TV and saw what was happening and said, “Hold on, we gotta watch this!” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Kobe has the mentality of a basketball serial killer. He’s going to come at you every single way possible and he’s not going to let up. His mentality — his killer instinct — is what separates him from the other guys on this list, because once Kobe knows he has you, he’s going to keep attacking you. He’ll throw you down, beat you up and even when you’re knocked out, he’ll keep hitting you.
Kobe wants to destroy his opponent every night, and his desire to do so is second only to Jordan. I never had to play against Michael when he was with the Bulls, so Kobe is the closest I’ve come to facing that type of determination in my career.”
Paul Pierce spoke about his toughest game played against the Mamba
In the very same article, Paul recollected his favourite clash with the Mamba, and how Kobe went on to take 47 shots that game.
“One of the toughest games I remember playing against Kobe happened in Boston. I think he made seven or eight shots in a row on me. So we come into the huddle during a timeout and Coach is looking at me with a face that I knew meant he wanted me to switch off of Kobe. And the rest of the guys on the team could see what was happening and they were looking at me too. Finally they bring up that maybe we should switch and put a different guy on him, and I yelled, “Hell no! I’m going to guard him! I got this!”
He ended up missing the last nine shots of that game with me on him, and we won. But the stat sheet is still vivid in my mind. Kobe took 47 shots. Forty-seven. No one has ever taken 47 shots on me. Most games a team will get up 81 to 89 shots.
What you have to understand about Kobe’s game is that by taking that many shots, he’s meticulously wearing down the defender until he breaks them. He’s made a career out of making guys lose confidence in their defense and then continuing to attack them. He’s won five rings doing that.
If you want to have any defensive success against Kobe, you can’t break. That’s much easier said than done.”