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Paul George On Playing Against Kobe Bryant For The First Time: "Best Moment Of My Life As A Professional Basketball Player.”

(via SB Nation)

(via SB Nation)

Kobe Bryant was just one of those guys that left everyone who encountered him in awe and amazement.

With the one-year anniversary of Bryant's death inching closer by the day, it seems more and more athletes are detailing their own unique encounter stories with "the Mamba."

In a recent post-game chat with the media, Clippers star Paul George became the latest to speak up with his Kobe story...

"The very first time was here in LA," George said. "I think it was my second year, I got the opportunity. I was matched up with him and it was my assignment to guard Kobe... Obviously having [Brian Shaw] as an assistant and B. Shaw is jawing at him, egging him on, getting him riled up, talking mess from the bench... Here I am in the middle while all of this was going on, and I just remember one possession down on their end in front of their bench. I was guarding him and he got into his backdown, his patent pump fake and I went flying for it. You know, young guy trying to block his shot, I went flying for it... He ran down specifically to where B. Shaw was and yelled at B. Shaw, 'Check the young fella for feathers!' That was the first moment of being on the court guarding Kobe.

It was everything. At that moment, it was me and him. Nobody on that court mattered. Nothing else mattered. To me, it was just me and him... This was the matchup I always wanted and it was a chance for me to see him up close and just learn from him. So it was everything for me... It was the best moment of my life as a professional basketball player."

George grew up a huge Kobe Bryant fan, so it's really no surprise to hear how excited and huge it was for him to face off against him for the first time.

While PG caught Bryant towards the end of his career, he was obviously still just as eager to learn from his game.

Today, George has become one of the league's best two-way players -- likely in part because of all he was able to take away from the Mamba. And while he has yet to win a Championship, his game and skill set as a player has put him in a nice place among basketball's hierarchy of stars.