Kobe Says Iverson Dropping 41PTS on Him Drove His Maniacal Obsession To Study Him
In a piece published Tuesday for the Players’ Tribune, Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant recalled a game on March 19, 1999, in which 76ers’ great Allen Iverson dropped 41 points and 10 assists on him.
Bryant detailed his anger after that game and how it drove him to an obsession with the Philadelphia 76ers guard after that contest:
“Working harder wasn’t enough,” wrote Bryant. “I had to study this man maniacally. I obsessively read every article and book I could find about AI. I obsessively watched every game he had played, going back to the IUPU All-American Game. I obsessively studied his every success, and his every struggle. I obsessively searched for any weakness I could find.
I searched the world for musings to add to my AI Musecage. This led me to study how great white sharks hunt seals off the coast of South Africa. The patience. The timing. The angles.”
Kobe’s obsession apparently worked, as the two met once again the following year and Kobe shut him down.
“On Feb 20, 2000, in Philadelphia, PJ gave me the assignment of guarding AI at the start of the second half. No one knew how much this challenge meant to me.I wanted him to feel the frustration I felt.I wanted everyone who laughed at the 41 and 10 he put on me to choke on their laughter.”
“I swore, from that point on, to approach every matchup as a matter of life and death,” Bryant wrote. “No one was going to have that kind of control over my focus ever again.”