Sportsnation asked a bunch of Lakers on media day if they could beat the 36 year old Kobe Bryant in a game of one-on-one and here’s how they replied.
Jordan Hill: I think so. I’ll give him a try.
Jeremy Lin: I could yes, hypothetically.
Carlos Boozer: I’m whooping Kobe right now (in a joking way)
Robert Sacre: I think I can. I tried to play him but he turned me down
Steve Nash: I don’t think I have a chance
Xavier Henry: Yeah. I’m playing
Julius Randle: Yes I can beat Kobe right now
Nick Young: Deep down I think we both know who could win
Knowing Kobe Bryant, regardless of his age and whatever injury he has or is recovering from, he’s going to shake his head at every one of them and do one of his typical “c’mon man” responses.
Here’s a little background on Kobe when it comes to the topic of one-on-one games.
In a 2010 interview, Kobe, without hesitation, explained why he would beat LeBron one-on-one because “that’s his thing” and “at the core” of Kobe, he’s a one-on-one player and LeBron is more of a Magic Johnson type. It was a typical cocky answer from Kobe that shouldn’t surprise anybody.
Then in 2012, Kobe again showed his confidence when it came to one-on-one challenges when Kyrie Irving challenged him.
In 2013, a 50 year old Michael Jordan was asked about playing a lot of the elite players of today in a game of one-on-one and the GOAT also said he would beat LeBron but not Kobe because Bryant “steals his moves.”
That same year, during an ESPN interview, Kobe talked about specific battles with specific players such as Tracy McGrady and had this to say about 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 every day. 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.”
T-Mac denied the story by saying “LOL Hell No! That’s far from the truth. No one in the NBA is playing 1 on1.”
Whether or not the Germany games happened is up in the air but Kobe did tell Jimmy Kimmel that McGrady gave him the most problems and McGrady told TMZ that Kobe was his toughest opponent and nobody else was close.
In 2014, Phil Jackson told Fox Sports he would take Michael Jordan over Kobe in a game of one-on-one and then told a hilarious story about the time he asked Michael Jordan to talk to Kobe Byrant about the way he plays and the first thing Kobe said to Jordan was “I could kick your ass one-on-one.” Jordan’s response was “You might.”