The one thing that Kobe Bryant doesn't get enough credit for is his incredible defense. While he is considered an incredible offensive player and one of the most skilled scorers in NBA history, Kobe was a fantastic defender in his own right and would take on the tough defensive assignments on a regular basis.
Bryant had an incredible career in the NBA, amassing several accolades during his time. But what many fans often overlook when it comes to his achievements is his 12 All-Defensive selections, including 9 All-Defensive 1st team selections.
For Bryant, it wasn't just about putting up great offensive numbers. He knew that he could do that. But Kobe understood that he also had to be the leader of his team on the defensive end, and set an example by guarding some of the most dangerous players this league has ever seen.
This is exactly what he did in 2009 when the Lakers went to Miami to face Dwyane Wade and the Heat.
With the game almost wrapped up and Wade bringing the ball up the court, Kobe decided to put the game to rest and played tireless full-court lockdown defense on a prime Dwyane Wade, making sure he couldn't get the shot off and eventually forcing him into a traveling violation.
Fans reacted positively to this video, most of them pointing out how good a defender Kobe was and explaining how he did the right thing against a very dangerous D-Wade. But some fans complained that he had stopped playing intense D late in his career and that this was a rare occurrence at the time.
Despite being a fairly smaller player at 6'6, Bryant was incredibly ferocious on defense, and would gladly take the responsibility of guarding the best offensive player on the opposing team. It was this determination that made Kobe such a fantastic natural leader during his career.
Kobe knew that he could guard anyone and everyone, despite the disadvantages he may have with size or strength. If anything, Kobe used those mismatches as motivation to prove people wrong and show that he could go toe-to-toe with the best and hold his own on the defensive end.