Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Houston Rockets great Tracy McGrady quickly developed a strong friendship after entering the NBA in the late 1990s.
Despite the fierce rivalry on the court, Bryant and McGrady had a tremendous amount of respect for one another. They both said they were each other’s toughest opponents in their playing days. Bryant would go on to have a much more successful career, in part due to the injuries that forced McGrady’s premature retirement.
But McGrady didn’t envy Bryant’s success, making a case for the Lakers legend to be considered among the best NBA players of all time long after leaving the league.
McGrady has just paid tribute to Bryant’s talent again, lauding the five-time NBA champion’s skillset and mentality during his cameo on ESPN’s First Take:
“Kobe Bean Bryant. He’s the greatest one-on-one player I’ve ever competed against, and not just because of his skillset. It’s because of his mentality. He was just a certified killer.”
McGrady then said he would pick Bryant over Michael Jordan for a one-on-one game:
“I see MJ & Kobe, but Kobe enhanced those skillsets that he took from Michael Jordan. The ball-handling skills. The fadeaways. I think Kobe is the most skilled basketball player that I’ve ever seen over Michael Jordan.”
Last month, McGrady didn’t offer the current Lakers star, LeBron James, similarly kind words. He said the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were a more skilled duo than James and Dwyane Wade were during their time on the Miami Heat. However, James agreed with McGrady.
Shaquille O’Neal says he & Bryant are only ‘Superduo’ ever created
In a further remembrance of Bryant’s greatness, his former teammate — Shaquille O’Neal — said the NBA has never seen a “superduo” better than them playing for the Lakers in the early 2000s.
“Only one superduo ever created, yea I said it, ONLY ONE. Miss you, Kobe,” O’Neal wrote on Instagram.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!