Over his 18-year career, Kobe Bryant has had his share of battles. Every year during Bryant’s prime, there was always somebody stepping up as the next “Kobe stopper.” Whether it be Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, or Vince Carter, there was always a player that was up to the challenge that Kobe presented on a nightly basis. Now that Iverson and McGrady are out of the league and Carter is now a role player coming off of the bench in Memphis, it is safe to say Kobe won the war.
One player who has never backed down to Kobe is Tony Allen. In Allen’s 11-year career in the league, he has been known as a lockdown defender. He was instrumental in the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship run while the original “Big Three” was in tact and has earned a spot as the full-time starting small forward in Memphis.
While Allen is known to let his defense do the talking, Kobe has faced many over his near two decades of basketball who are not afraid to speak their mind. Kevin Garnett listed his top trash talkers, so in light of Wednesdays game against the tough Grizzles, Kobe reeled off his top four to Lakers.com Reporter Mike Trudell:
Off an ESPN piece where KG gave his top trash talkers, I asked Kobe for his on @TWCSportsNet: G. Payton, KG, R. Miller, Scottie Pippen.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 27, 2014
Garnett and Kobe were both part of the new-school in the mid 90’s. They owned the league and backed up any trash talk with their play on the court. During the end of their career, Kobe was a huge reason why Pippen and Miller didn’t see success in the form of championships before they retired.
Gary Payton is also known as one of the best trash talkers of all time with his slick wit and fearlessness on the court. Kobe had a great opportunity to hear the best of Payton’s trash talking when he was a member of the 2004 Lakers that made an appearance in the NBA Finals.[divide]
Lakers Practice: Kobe Bryant Talks Xavier Henry, Tony Allen, And Marc Gasol