Kobe Bryant doesn't get a lot of love for being the almost GOAT-level player that he was. Shaquille O'Neal has always managed to keep his name in the conversation, but there are not a lot of people that forget just how elite Kobe was. Many remember him for his shot-making, where he could be quite inefficient at times, but what gets forgotten is his defensive prowess. Kobe was a nightmare on the defensive end.
Bryant was a 12-time selection to the All-NBA Defensive Team, nine out of which were to the first team. His ability to stay with guards no matter how good they were is severely underrated. Kobe could lock people up. And it wasn't just regular players either. The best and quickest of that era faltered in front of Kobe, including Dwyane Wade.
Wade won a championship alongside Shaq after Kobe had won three with the big man, and the two had some of their best seasons in the NBA around the same time. Bryant won his MVP around the time Wade was putting up some of his best individual seasons as well. And a clip of Kobe guarding Wade has gone viral, with the Lakers man shutting the Heat legend down by picking him up full-court.
Bryant put so much pressure on Wade there that he had no choice but to pick up his dribble after probing and failing to get past Kobe a few times. The Mamba eventually made the right move after Wade had made his dribble as well, forcing the travel and the turnover.
The fact that he could do this to Wade, widely considered one of the best offensive players in that generation, is a testament to Kobe's greatness. In an era of basketball where the defensive side continues to largely be ignored, remembering how good Bryant was at doing the tough things is a good reminder of what greatness is supposed to look like.