For many years, people questioned Allen Iverson's character and personal decisions away from the game of basketball in regards to his legal issues, financial straits, or even his motivation when it came to practice. But on the court, there was no questions asked when it came to The Answer's incomparable talent that inspired LeBron James and many of today's NBA players.
Now you can add Kobe Bryant to that list of players, who claimed that Iverson pushed him to become a better defensive player. With A.I. now a finalist on the 2016 Hall of Fame induction ballot, Kobe reminisced and credited a performance by Iverson in a 1999 matchup between the Lakers and Sixers that outright embarrassed the Black Mamba, going off on him for 41 points:
Since 2000, Kobe became a 12-time All-NBA Defensive Team player, with nine first-team selections, and three second-team selections. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. Therefore, Kobe was righteous to personally thank A.I. for helping him get five rings.
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[via Ben Golliver]