Kobe Bryant says he’s never seen a player with more of an impact on the game than LeBron James. He also claims that Kobe would have won five NBA championships if not for him, but no one really knows how much is true and how much is just ESPN talking smack.
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Something fantastical, unreplicable might be characterized as a legend. As in the King Arthur legend. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant are two basketball icons when seen through this perspective.
Their games were distinct, but so were their personalities.
There’s one point in AI’s mind when he realized who Kobe was and why The Mamba was unlike practically everyone else who had ever picked up a basketball.
During the same period, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were competitors.
Before tip-off, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Allen Iverson of the Denver Nuggets exchange greetings. Getty Images/Doug Pensinger
Iverson and Bryant were both lottery choices in the NBA Draft in 1996, with AI going first overall to the Philadelphia 76ers and Kobe going 13th overall to the Los Angeles Lakers through the Charlotte Hornets.
Kobe Bean had a 20-year career while Bubba Chuck had a 14-year career.
The two met 38 times, according to Land of Basketball, 29 times during the regular season and nine times in the playoffs. The series was won by Kobe 24-14. (8-1 in the playoffs).
Iverson has over 25,000 points, which is the most for a player classified at 6-feet or shorter in NBA history.
With 33,643 points, the Lower Merion grad is presently fourth all-time in NBA scoring.
During their debut season in the league, The Answer had Kobe beat. After averaging 23.5 points per game in 1996-97, AI was voted Rookie of the Year. He averaged 19.8 field-goal attempts per night while playing more than 40 minutes every night.
Bryant’s first season was significantly less impressive: 7.6 points per game, 15.5 minutes per game, and 5.9 attempts per game. But he not only came up to, but finally overtook the Georgetown product.
There’s a reason, in Iverson’s opinion, why Kobe ultimately became a more accomplished player, and he said that he realized it after just a few hours of hanging out with him.
AI just needed one night in LA to see Bryant was different.
On December 29, 1996, the Sixers took on the Lakers. It was the second meeting between the two Hall of Famers, but the first on the west coast.
While Iverson intended to go out for the night, the five-time champion had other intentions, according to an article in The Player’s Tribune.
“Do you remember when I traveled out to Los Angeles for the first time our freshman year?” You picked me up from the hotel and we went out to eat, and you inquired about my plans for the evening.
“I stated I was heading to the club,” she explained. We’re in L.A., after all! Kobe, I’m heading to the club. Let’s face it, dude.
“And what did you say?” says the narrator.
“‘I’m heading to the gym again.’
“You’re possibly the only player in the game’s history whose aura hasn’t been inflated.” Man, the Mamba wasn’t a legend. It didn’t even come close to doing you justice. We knew where you were at one, two, and three a.m.”
Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, according to Allen Iverson
Both players were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Kobe was on a different level.
In his own way, Iverson was a very talented player. He was an MVP winner, an 11-time All-Star, a four-time scoring champion, a seven-time All-NBA team member, and a finals participant (against the Lakers).
Bryant, on the other hand, was an 18-time All-Star. He was named to 15 NBA All-Star teams. He was nominated to 12 All-Defensive teams and was a two-time Finals MVP.
But it was his collection of championship rings that separated the Pennsylvania native apart from Iverson — and every other player of his time.
He attained them via an irrational work ethic and an instinctive drive to improve.
And, as Iverson said, many hours in the gym.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
RELATED: Allen Iverson Knew Kobe Bryant Was “Going to Be a Legend” the First Time He Saw the 18-Year-Old Take a Direct Shot at Michael Jordan
“The Mamba Was No Myth, Man” is a song by Michael Penn. The song tells the story of the basketball player Michael Jordan and his rise to fame. Reference: michael penn.
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