Skip to main content

"I am going at arguably the greatest of all time in my book" - Kyrie Irving recollects going up against Kobe Bryant in the NBA

Bryant had a way of pressing the right buttons in people.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving

All players across any sport have idols they admire, trying to imbibe positives from their game. The late Kobe Bryant had one of the most inspiring careers in the league, which led him to become an idol for a generation of NBA players. While players like Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker were able to establish a personal relationship with Bryant, Irving probably had the deepest bond.

In his recent appearance on "Uninterrupted," Idris Elba asked Kyrie about players that pushed him to be better - and Irving understandably picked Bryant:

"Kobe for sure was number one on my list. Just because I had a student-teacher relationship with him. I only had access to his highlights for 10-12 years. When I got to the league to challenge him, I was like 'no, this is my moment. I am going at arguably the greatest of all time in my book.'"

Kyrie Irving, The Shop

Kyrie Irving challenges Kobe Bryant to one-on-one

Irving was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011, as the franchise tried to fill in a void left by the departure of LeBron James. Given the shoes he had to fill, Irving came in with a strong mentality, not backing down in front of anybody.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Irving basically wanted to make a statement and got his chance during the 2012 Team USA Camp. Kyrie walked up to Kobe Bryant with some trash-talk and challenged him to a one-on-one game. While the exchange between the two guards went viral, it also led to a mentoring relationship for the young Cavaliers guard.

Kobe Bryant knew how to motivate people

Bryant had a way of pressing the right buttons in people, pushing them towards the goals they set out to achieve. Bryant once hung his Team USA gold medal in Pau Gasol's locker, which he got after beating Gasol's Spanish team. What was probably meant as a joke turned out to bring the best version of Gasol in the seasons to come, as the Lakers won the next two NBA championships.

Bryant reportedly used a similar tactic on Kyrie Irving in 2016, when the Cavaliers were set to meet the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals.

"He gave me some extra motivation, man, in the most Kobe way. He was like, 'Man, I think Golden State's definitely going to win a championship this year.'"

Kyrie Irving ended up playing a very crucial role in the Cavaliers clinching the title, contributing 26 points in Game 7. More importantly, Irving made a Kobe-Esque go-ahead shot late in the fourth, when both teams were struggling to find a bucket over the last four minutes. 

Dennis Rodman once got himself ejected from a game so he could make his dinner reservation and gamble

Dennis Rodman once got himself ejected from a game so he could make his dinner reservation and gamble: "I was able to get the hell of there and start my party night right on time."

Dennis Rodman details how he got ejected from a game against the Utah Jazz so he could make his dinner reservation and start with a wild night out in Las Vegas

Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics are in a good spot heading into the 2022-23 season

Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics are in a good spot heading into the new season - “He’s in a pretty good spot with the organization”

There were fears that Brown would begin plotting his path out of Boston after he was included in the Celtics trade offer for Kevin Durant, but Brown is in a good spot with the C's entering the season

Draymond Green discusses the most difficult part of the NBA

Draymond Green discusses the most difficult part of the NBA -“We playing against the sorry motherf*****s, I can’t play

Green says that he struggles to motivate himself to play against some of the worst teams in the NBA, singling out the Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder in the process

kobe-bryant-dunk-on-dwight-howard

“I didn’t think he was going to dunk!”-Dwight Howard recollected his ‘Welcome to the League’ moment featuring Kobe Bryant

Dwight Howard has high praise for Kobe Bryant, despite the fall-out in his first stint with the Lakers

Luka Doncic & Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 2022-23 GM SURVEY reveals who the GMs consider being the MVP and title favourites

Giannis Antetokounmpo voted best defender, international player, and player to build a franchise around

giannis-jrue-kris-richard-jefferson

Richard Jefferson thinks the Milwaukee Bucks have the best Big 3 in the NBA

The Milwaukee Bucks Big Three has championship pedigree says Richard Jefferson

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge

“Tree Bites Man” — when Danny Ainge almost lost a finger in the 1983 playoffs

The Boston Herald came up with one of the funniest headlines of all time.

Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach

“How many of these you consider ethical or unethical depends entirely on your organization.” — 4 moves from Red Auerbach's "57 Strategies" that players still do today

LeBron James, Chris Paul, and James Harden are just some of the greats who have picked up a thing or two from the great Red Auerbach.