When you are talking about trash talkers and the fiercest competitors in NBA history you have to mention the names of Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, this pair of players is considered in the conversation of all time greats and has had many intense playoff battles through their careers. But one of their most heated was when they were going up against each other in the 2001 NBA Finals.
After dropping 48 points and taking the win in Game 1 in Staples Center, Allen Iverson and the Sixers were buzzing, as they believed that the underdog could take down the powerhouse, while the Lakers were shocked as their perfect playoff run had been stopped. Tensions were high as emotions brewed hot coming into Game 2.
The Lakers managed to beat the Sixers 89-98 and give themselves some relief as they tied up the series at 1-1. But during that game, an exciting event occurred as arguably the two biggest stars from both teams, “AI” and Kobe started jawing at each other. They were going back in forth for good 30 seconds until Derek Fisher, and then the refs had to separate them and tell them to stop. It was in the air. The series became confrontational and heated.
It is interesting how their trash talking was allowed and stopped after they managed to have a pretty long conversation without getting any technicals, especially during the Finals, while today you couldn’t see something like that.
Kobe said after the game (via NBA.com): “With Allen, he’s doing whatever he can to inspire his team and fire them up. But I really don’t care. We’re here, we’re the world champions, and no matter how inspired your team may be, the championship has to come through the city of Los Angeles.”
It was a very confident statement, but he backed it up as him and Shaq beat the Sixers over the next 3 games, and eventually won in 5 games, going back to back.