Kobe Bryant has a long history of crushing people in games of 1-on-1. From Bow Wow to Kobe’s own fans, there have been far too many people who have made the mistake of challenging Kobe and paid the price for doing it. But from the sound of things, none of them took Ls quite like the one that Isaiah “J.R.” Rider took back in 2000 when he joined the Lakers roster.
The Players’ Tribune spoke with Kobe’s former Lakers teammates Horace Grant, Brian Shaw, Ron Harper, and Devean George recently and asked them to share their favorite Kobe stories. And the one that stood out from all the rest was a story about the time Rider invited Kobe to play 1-on-1 against him.
"J.R. would [expletive]-talk Kobe," Grant says. "Every practice, it was MF this, MF that. He would say to Kobe, 'Get your [expletive] back in the kitchen.'"
Rider was regarded as a solid player back then, and he thought that he could keep up with Kobe. But in the words of Harper: “Kobe destroyed him.”
Kobe apparently beat him so bad that Rider wanted to “fight everybody in the gym” once the game was over, according to Grant. George remembers it being an absolute bloodbath:
When Kobe finished him off, it was almost like, Man, why did you have to do him like that? The sideline was in disbelief. You have to understand, this was a guy who put up numbers in the league. This wasn’t a benchwarmer. J.R. was a super-talented player. But Kobe got into some kind of zone and just went crazy. No, he went berserk on J.R.
Of course, none of this is hard to believe. Kobe is Kobe, after all. But it’s still fun to hear some of his teammates marvel at his competitive nature all these years later. You can go here to see what they all had to say about his memorable game of 1-on-1 against Rider.
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[via The Players’ Tribune]