During Kobe Bryant’s 18th NBA All-Star weekend, a lot of the five-time NBA champion’s peers have expressed their admiration and respect for what he’s been able to accomplish throughout his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Although there’s been plenty of praise and recognition for Kobe’s impact on the league, former NBA star Tracy McGrady took it a step further. McGrady recently paid Bryant the ultimate compliment by dubbing him the best player he’s ever faced in an interview with ESPN, transcription via Sports Illustrated:
“Playing against Kobe in his prime, in my prime, there’s no doubt that he’s the best player that I ever faced,” said McGrady, who also played against Michael Jordan.
McGrady also explained why he holds Bryant in such high regard and how he always looked forward to their battles on the court:
“The drive, the competitive nature that he displayed for 20 years,” McGrady continued. “He was always one of the guys that I looked forward to competing against because he brought the best out of me.”
Many NBA players over the years have praised Bryant for his accomplishments while calling the Lakers star one of the greatest players of all time. The popular phrase for active players in the league this season, since Bryant announced his intentions to retire, has been that Kobe is the Michael Jordan of their generation.
McGrady, however, believes Bryant may have been a step ahead of Jordan. Granted, McGrady didn’t get to see prime Jordan or even much of the dominant Jordan in his last few years with the Chicago Bulls, but a bold statement nonetheless.