Los Angeles Lakers long-time star, Kobe Bryant, has apparently modified his list of NBA players that are the toughest opponents he’s ever played. To be fair to the Black Mamba, he’s played 20 seasons, and therefore, has gone up against a ton of talented players, so we’ll give him a pass.
With that said, it’s hard not to scope back through the archives of Google to see that Bryant has listed other players not on his current list of toughest players he’s ever went up against. Bryant’s new list has only once center and four guys that you probably would expect most players to have.
Kobe’s top players: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Clyde Drexler.
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 21, 2015
If you’re first thought was, “Just a couple years ago he said that Tracy McGrady was his toughest opponent,” then you are absolutely correct! If you also remember him mentioning Carmelo Anthony, then you would also be correct. In fact, Kobe has said names like Marbury, Iverson and Arenas in previous lists.
The surprise isn’t the names he’s revealed, but it’s that everyone of these players were either at the tail-end of their careers or Bryant was hitting the tail end of his career when the players listed became dominant. LeBron James is probably the closest to the exception as he entered the league in 2003 and became a dominant player pretty quickly. Drexler and Olajuwon, on the other hand, were running on fumes by the time Kobe entered the league.
Durant would be a logical choice too, but again, it comes as a surprise that Kobe forgot about Pierce, Garnett, Rasheed, Duncan, Parker, Billups along with the aforementioned Arenas, Marbury and Iverson as his toughest opponents.
I’m sure by the end of the season this list will change again. It’s alright though, it’s time to appreciate the once polarizing Bryant instead of criticizing him.