Kobe Bryant was one of the best one-on-one players in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers legend wasn't afraid of taking things personally and leading his team to the victory by himself.
It was nearly impossible to beat Kobe in a pickup game, as his legend grew so much that nobody tried to challenge him to a duel. And, if they did, Kobe made them regret that decision. The Black Mamba even claimed he would beat LeBron James one-on-one, as that was his specialty, while Bron was more of a five-on-five type of player.
A couple of years ago, in the 2014/15 NBA season, Kobe's Lakers teammates were asked if they could go at it with Bryant and actually defeat him. Some were very confident that they could do it before admitting they were joking and Kobe would destroy them.
Others were more straightforward and said they didn't stand a chance against the 5x NBA champion.
Jordan Hill: "Can I beat Kobe one-on-one? I think so. I think so. I'll give it a try."
Jeremy Lin: "I could. Hypothetically. But, I think more times than that, he'd win."
Carlos Boozer: "I'm whooping Kobe one-on-one right now. Nah, Kobe's one of the best in the game. Big fan of Kob, looking forward to playing with him."
Robert Sacre: "I think I can... I tried to play him one-on-one already, but he turned that down."
Steve Nash: "I haven't seen him too much recently, but he's bigger than me, younger than me. I don't think I have a chance."
Xavier Henry: "Yeah, I can beat Kobe one-on-one. What kind of question is that? No, I'm playing."
Julius Randle: "I'm definitely saying anybody can't beat me, so yes, I can beat Kobe one-on-one."
Nick Young: "I probably can. I don't want him to feel some type of way... I'mma say he wins."
Some of these players boasted huge confidence until they realized the job wasn't that easy. Kobe was a killer, one of the best scorers in NBA history, and going against him one-on-one was incredibly hard.
He was so confident in his game that he told Michael Jordan he would beat him several times. Even after his prime was over, nobody wanted that smoke. Kobe would go off on them and make it clear he wasn't one to mess with.