Even though he’s made nine All-Defensive First Teams, you probably weren’t surprised to see Frobe Bryant get crossed by White Chocolate at the 11-second mark of this Old Skool BBall video (this video has now been removed). But, you probably raised an eyebrow when Kobe responded by going behind his back to split Jason Williams and Tony “I once scored 50 points in an NBA game” Delk (at 4:56). Then, you probably did an O face or said “Oh shit!” when Kobe caused Williams and Delk to collide into each other and hug the way you would after a game-winner.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, there would be no game-winner in this playoff game. After taking Games 1 and 2, the eventual winners of the series and champions of the playoffs lost Game 3, despite a game-high 35 by Kobe. The credit and blame for the win and loss goes to Chris Webber for his 29/14/9 line and MVP Shaq for missing 14 of his 22 shots from the field and 9 of his 14 free throws.
Anyways, this post isn’t about the series, the heated rivalry between the Lakers and Queens, the big shot by Big Shot Bob, the fixed games or when Doug Christie pissed off a lot of women by hitting Rick Fox with an uppercut. This post is about Kobe’s underrated handles. It’s not as underrated as his dunking — 1996-2000 Kobe is easily one of the top five dunkers ever in my book of unpopular opinions — but it’s pretty underrated.
A crazy story about his handles goes back to 1988 when he went with Adidas to the Streetball National Finals in the Philippines. During a mall exhibition, he pulled off the elbow dunk a couple of years before Vince Carter did it in the NBA Dunk Contest and pulled out some streetball moves a year before the landmark And1 Mixtape VHS dropped.
I’m sure I’m not going to convince you Kobe had underrated handles by showing you footage of him acting like Rafer Alston around these defenders, so here’s 30 minutes of Kobe breaking ankles and putting NBA players on skates.
If you are here just because you love White Chocolate, then this is for you. And remember, Williams eventually did get a championship, playing alongside Shaq in Miami.