In his career in the NBA, Kobe Bryant has faced some of the toughest opponents. Here are Kobe Bryant’s three big enemies.
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in the hills of Calabasas, California, Sunday (1/26) morning local time. The accident also claimed the life of his daughter, Gianna Maria Onore.
Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant successfully won five NBA titles with the LA Lakers. In addition to the NBA title, Kobe Bryant also won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics with the United States.
Here are three big enemies that Kobe Bryant has faced in his career.
1. LeBron James
Small forward from the Cleveland Cavaliers team, who now plays for the Lakers, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant play in different positions, so they rarely take care of each other. But there are several opportunities for them to duel each other.
More importantly, they are the two big names in the NBA, so they are often compared. The debate about the best basketball player between the two players also looks almost balanced when viewed from the acquisition of each other’s achievements.
Bryant recorded a record five times NBA champion (2001-2002, 2009-2010), while James was only three times (2012, 2013, and 2016).
Even so, Bryant never considered him as a competitor. “Not for me,” he said. “It is difficult for me to change my level of playing ability to be higher.”
2. Shaquille O’Neal
Since the first time the two played together at the LA Lakers, the relationship between O’Neal and Bryant has been sparked by the fire of rivalry.
O’Neal and some of his colleagues considered Bryant’s actions both during the competition and during training to be too arrogant, and the two had never been good friends.
At a training session in 1999, because of the high intensity of hostility between these two basketball players, O’Neal even slapped Bryant.
After winning three NBA championships together, Bryant and Shaq experienced a feud that caused the Lakers dynasty in the NBA to end in the early 2000s. Shaq moved to Miami and won his fourth NBA title, while Bryant became a one-man show at the Lakers.
Since being separated, the Shaq team has a record of 11-7 victory over Bryant at the Lakers. But Kobe recorded an average of 35 points in these matches.
Let the past go by, Shaq said several months ago about his relationship with Bryant. “I just want people to know that I don’t hate you (Kobe), I know you don’t hate me,” he said.
“I was young. You were young. But let’s see, we won three championships, so I don’t think we made many mistakes. We often have different views, different opinions, but I think that’s encouragement for both of us.”
Bryant also responds to what the former teammate said casually. “I think Shaq is aware that this child (Kobe) is really competitive, and he is a little crazy,” he said.
3. Michael Jordan
The Chicago Bulls team legend basketball player number 23 is always compared to Bryant.
Rather than making Bryant his rival, Jordan prefers The Black Mamba as a friend, even though Bryant sometimes ‘steals’ his movements.
Bryant did show some of the same actions with Jordan as sticking out his tongue or holding force in the air while making a fade shot.
In fact, the farewell poem Bryant wrote when he announced his retirement from basketball was similar to the farewell letter written by Michael Jordan: both identified with basketball as a relationship with a human being.
“I like Kobe, we often talk,” Jordan said when he heard Kobe was injured some time ago.
“I think he performed well in his match, and he is having a true love for the game of basketball. I really respect him. Even though he ‘stole’ my movements, but never mind. I still love him like my own brother.”