Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were drafted on the same night. They changed NBA so much, people don't realize that in the beginning. They played better and better every time they clashed and with that, they pushed each other to the limits. Because of that pushing, both of them became NBA Superstars and now they are idols of many youths all over the world.
"And AI as a competitor, he drove me to be as obsessive, more obsessive about the game, because I had to figure out how to solve that problem, you know? And I told him -- I saw him here this weekend. I said you don't realize how much you pushed me. And I don't think people nowadays realize how great you were as a player and how big of a problem you were for defenses. Happy for them both." - said Kobe Bryant.
Before this game, they played many times, they were drafted in 1996 and played 3 years many great duels. This game was on March 19, 1999. Lakers with Shaq and Kobe confronted "The Answer" and his 76ers. This season special because of NBA lockout, but in the Kobe's head that wasn't relevant.
Allen Iverson dropped 41 points that night. He was unstoppable. Shaq and Kobe combined 46 points and that wasn't enough to stop this small guy from Hampton and Lakers eventually lost 90-105. It was a tough night for Kobe.
"When I matched up AI in Philadelphia in 1999, that was a big turning point for me. I remember being on the bus saying, you know what, I've got to become one of the best defensive players of all time because I can't have this happen. That's a direct result of what AI did to me that night in Philadelphia. I don't think people realize how cold he was. They have no idea how hard it was to guard this guy. " - said Kobe Bryant.
Knowing Kobe Bryant and his Mamba mentality, this is all normal. End how AI entered in his head it resulted with 3 NBA Championships in the next 3 years, beating 76ers and AI in the NBA Finals in 2001. "Bubba Chucks", as they called Iverson in his childhood, was one of the greatest that never won a ring. He gave his 110% in that NBA Finals, averaging 35.8 points and playing 47.4 minutes per game. It's very bad that NBA Legends like AI have never won
It's very bad that NBA Legends like AI have never won a NBA Championship, but their legacy isn't destroyed, they will be still the NBA Legends. "Ankle Breaker", your crossover will never be forgotten. Enjoy this great performance from Allen Iverson.