Kobe Bryant was one of the most skilled and creative offensive players in NBA history.
His understanding of how to work opposing defenders and defensive schemes was a thing of legend.
Because Bryant worked so tirelessly to figure out the best way to attack players’ weaknesses and shortcomings when he was scoring, he was uniquely qualified to identify the best defenders in NBA history.
And that is precisely what he did in 2013.
As far as Bryant was concerned, Scottie Pippen was the best defender he had ever seen.
“I think to be an exceptional defender, you can get away with not having those physical attributes, as long as you mentally understand what your matchup is,” Bryant said.
“But when you have the physical talent to go along with it in that department, then you wind up having something special. Scottie Pippen, to me, is the greatest defensive player I’ve ever seen and he obviously had the physical tools and the mental intelligence to go out there and lock people down.”
Whether he was delivering the one condition under which he would party with his Lakers teammates, discussing his favorite teammate of all time or giving his true opinion of a young Stephen Curry – Bryant always kept it exceptionally real when it came to basketball.
If he said that Pippen was the best defender he had ever seen, he meant it.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 20, 2022
Bryant was obviously taken from the world too soon. It was a huge loss for the sport of basketball and really robbed society of all the great things he had yet to accomplish.
That said, it’s great that Bryant’s words can continue to live on in this fashion.
Bryant may no longer be with us, but his legacy is secure.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.