Kobe Bryant was not only one of the best players to ever step on the court, but he was also a huge competitor. Even from an early age in the NBA, he wanted to be the best player in the league and he certainly had the work ethic and confidence to fulfill his dream.
Speaking of competing, Kobe played against many amazing players throughout his career. One of them was NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady. T-Mac's career might have been cut short due to injuries, he still achieved enough to be recognized as an elite player during his prime.
Both Kobe and T-Mac were incredible players, and they had mutual respect for one another. For example, Kobe gave a young McGrady advice about how to improve his skill set.
On the other hand, McGrady praised Kobe by saying that the Lakers legend could have scored 100 if played in today's NBA. While the two superstars were lethal competitors on the court, the rivalry also helped them in improving their games.
In a recent podcast with Draymond Green, Tracy talked about facing Bryant during his career. During the video, he talked about facing Kobe which gave him confidence in his career.
"I think competing against Kobe around that time and holding my own because Kobe was in his 5th year, and he was that dude. That is that number 8 with the fro. He is the bar, and if I am competing against him every night I belong there, this is what it is. It’s just staying focused, sacrificing, and understanding these folks really counted on me."
(starts at 7:30)
The age difference between T-Mac and Kobe was only a year. But by the time McGrady was rising through the ranks, many had already started to consider him as an idol.
Like T-Mac detailed, Kobe was the bar, and competing against him was a great honor for fans. Who knows, if Bryant and McGrady never went head-to-head, how different T-Mac's career would have turned out? He might never have had someone to push his game to the next level and continue to improve.