Did you guys know that Kobe Bryant likes playing one-on-one? I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Shockingly, dumbfoundingly true.

If you don’t believe me, just look at all of this stuff he’s saying about playing one-on-one and also the entirety of his NBA career. Along with saying that one-on-one is “what I do,” he also claims he’s never lost a single one-on-one game. From ESPN:

Who would you most like to play one-on-one, either active or retired?

Jordan. No question.

What would happen?

I’m not sure, but he would win some and I would win some in a seven-game series. It would probably come down to the last few shots

You versus LeBron? Who wins?

Me. No question. As far as one-on-one, I’m the best to ever do it.

Damn. That’s pretty confident.

LeBron is a terrific all-around, five-on-five basketball player who’s an all-time great. But I’d get him.

Who could get you?

Kevin Durant is the guy that would give me the most trouble. With his length and ability to use the dribble he’d be tough.

I always wanted to see you play Tracy McGrady.

I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you. When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promotional stuff for that other sneaker company and we played basketball everyday. We were in the gym all the time. We played three games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2. After the third game he said he had back spasms and couldn’t play anymore.

His back bothered him for most of his career.

Well, now you know.

What about Kyrie Irving?

[Huge smile, laugh.] Kyrie’s my boy, but he knows he doesn’t have anything for me. He doesn’t want to see me. But it would be fun. I’ve beaten a lot of guys one-on-one, like Reggie Miller and Grant Hill. I used to play Caron Butler all the time in practice when he was with the Lakers. When I was a rookie I used to get Nick van Exel and Eddie Jones. They know. They’ll tell you. They used to come at me hard but I wasn’t having that. I love going one-on-one with someone. That’s what I do. I’ve never lost. It’s a whole different game, just to have them right in front you and be able to do whatever you want.

So much good stuff here — calling adidas “that other sneaker company” now that he’s a Nike guy, Kobe bragging that he beat one-on-one legends like Caron Butler, Eddie Jones and Reggie Miller, him trashing Tracy McGrady as a way of settling that old “Kobe or McGrady” debate from 2K5 (haha) — it’s just classic Kobe. I could read Kobe quotes about being the best one-on-one player of all-time for at least three hours.

It’s just too bad the Lakers waived Chris Douglas-Roberts in the preseason. Just like Kobe, he says he’s never lost a game of one-on-one, so it would be interesting to see who’s really the best like when a couple of grownups get their hands on a Nintendo 64 to figure out who’s better at “Mario Kart 64.”

Or maybe Chris Doug-Rob beat Kobe and this is all part of an elaborate cover-up to keep Kobe’s record pristine. Let’s get Deadspin on it because I might have just unearthed the greatest conspiracy of our lifetime.

Comments (31)

  1. “Cooked”?!?!? “Pumped” is way better than that!

  2. That one on one tv show mentioned in the article you linked too would b interesting and entertaining. Guys like Kobe Lebron and KD would b the big draws but any of them could lose to Jamal Crawford or to a less accomplished player who would you have?

  3. All Star Saturday one on one competition.
    Book it!

  4. just the other day I wondered whether kobe would’ve taken / ever took on shaq one on one. it would probably depend on who hits the first shot, because if shaq got a rebound I’m guessing he’d just post kobe up ten times in a row (assuming they even play make it/take it).
    or more generally put: shouldn’t some guy like hakeem/kareem/shaqeem theoretically have the best chances of being the best one on one player “ever”? because I’m guessing while a big man has some trouble defending, say, a quick guard, no one but a big man has ANY chance of guarding a giant dude. except for maybe lebron.
    well whatever, no idea. maybe kobe just has some kind of telepathic one on one superstaredown technique that just kills people.

    • imagine Shaq trying to dribble from the 3 point line to the hoop 10 times against someone like Kobe. i say Kobe steals the ball at least 7 of 10

      • Shaq? For sure, but he’s a terrible example for a 1-on-1 big…
        But prime Duncan, Hakeem, KG, Mailman, Chuckster? They have enough handles and savvy to make it into the paint, and there isn’t much Kobe could do to guard them down there…

        • It’ll also depend on if they play 1s and 2 or 2s and 3s. If it’s the traditional 1s and 2s, Kobe would end it pretty quick against a big, since they’re worth twice as much, rather than 1.5 times.

    • “Shaqeem”? Get the names right and maybe, just maybe somebody will take your opinion on basketball more seriously.

      • I’m pretty sure it was an intentionnal mistake…

        • no he’s right, I thought his name was shaqeem o’nealeem because I think every name ends on “-eem”.
          aside from that, yeah it depends on the playing mode I guess, but I can’t imagine they use anything but 1′s (or what is the norm for that in the states? every 1on1 I ever played that was at least half serious was 1′s only, but maybe that’s just a regional thing?) and I wouldn’t be so sure about the handles, as long as he didn’t have to run, shaq was an ok ball handler – and he’s still got the reach on kobe, so that could theoretically be enough if he played it right.. but like I said, it would be such a weird matchup that I can’t really say whom I’d favour. probably kobe, but that’s more of a gut feeling than “fact” based.

      • I think you need a humour transplant mate….Don’t ever watch the Abbott and Costello who’s on first…I think your head will explode haha

        • I wasn’t being sarcastic: I’m from germany, I don’t have a sense of humour. I don’t like “who’s on first”, there’s not enough information in that piece. actually I don’t know what I’m doing here, posting insencere stuff on this blog anyway… now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to working, critically re-examining john schumann’s posts for grammar errors or fixing cars or something.

    • You’ve got to have a great handle to be a great one-on-one player, that’s why perimeter players are far better than big men like Shaq.

      Personally, I think Shaq in his prime was a more dominant NBA player than Kobe but he would get absolutely roasted in a game of one-on-one.

  5. Didn’t Kobe lose to his mom?

  6. He really means he wants to play Jordan Farmar one-on-one.

  7. I like how he uses “five-on-five player” as a dig at LeBron.

    • Should being called a “five-on-five player” be called a dig now? Weird. Last ime I checked basketball was a “five-on-five sport”. I don’t think Magic or Larry would find that as a dig, they would much rather take it as a compliment.

    • How is that a dig on LeBron? He’s an amazing basketball player with teammates around him. He’s an amazing basketball player, period. But one-on-one against Kobe who has spent his entire career shooting over the top of defenders, juking and spinning and pump-faking circles around defenders? Nuh-uh, not even when Kobe retires.

  8. Maybe Smush Parker beat him in one-on-one, and that’s where the resentment and attempts to bury him forever stem from.

  9. Last I checked, he lost to Vanessa Bryant.

  10. My ass got whooped every single one on one game

  11. I love Kobe. Even though I’m a Laker fan, my opinion on him was always mixed at best (enough with the hero ball! Include the team!). But now that he’s the grumpy old man, I love him. He really does give zero fucks about what any of us think about him, which is refreshing.

  12. Kobe went brokeback on me absolutely dominated me

  13. For big men:

    He’s such a nice guy he’d probably just let Kobe win, but I’d like to see Top of his game Pau play Kobe one-on-one.

    Garnett vs Kobe with the mics on could be very funny at all star weekend.

    I certainly believe that Kobe believes he’s undefeated. I bet he’s unbearable to play with, no fun. I bet he calls everything you do defensively a foul and everything you do offensively a travel.

  14. All I’m gonna say in response to Kobe’s claim:

    Allen. Iverson.

  15. That other Mamba ain’t got nothin on me.

  16. I would cook Kobe with a green shell. Don’t even need them reds.

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