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Oscar Robertson claims he could beat Kobe Bryant 1-on-1 — “I taught him basketball!”

Oscar Robertson thinks he could beat Kobe Bryant one-on-one. Here's why I think he's wrong.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Oscar Robertson and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Oscar Robertson and Kobe Bryant

In a hypothetical question on who would win between Oscar Roberson and Kobe Bryant, The Big O had no doubt in mind who would be the winner.

“Oh I’d beat Kobe Bryant, I taught him basketball!”

There will always be debates on who would win a hypothetical match between the legends, all-time greats, and current superstars. Preferences always get in the way of objective thinking, and it’s tough to weigh things up simply because players dominate in different eras. The OGs played in a highly physical and slow-paced era while the current superstars thrive in floor spacing, analytics, and three-point shooting.

The Big O was asked who would win in a one-on-one against LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Not surprisingly, he picked himself both times. When prodded why he thinks he could beat Kobe, he had this to say.

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Robertson would pick himself, of course. And he might be true. In his rookie year, The Big O averaged 30.5 points per game. Oscar was Russell Westbrook and LeBron James before these two played in the NBA. The 1963-64 MVP was a big guard and became the first player to average a triple-double in an entire season.

Why Kobe would win against Oscar

Here’s why Kobe would win: he never backed down against anyone and thrived in isolation. The Black Mamba would use one-on-one skills against the smaller Robertson. Kobe enjoyed a height and heft advantage against Oscar, which would give him an advantage in the post. Defensively we wouldn’t know how good The Big O was because the NBA only started recording steals and blocks in his last year, in the 1973-74 season.

Even Michael Jordan acknowledged that Kobe might be the only one who could beat him one-on-one because he steals all his moves. Of course, we all knew how Bryant would study his opponent before games and use every inch of the available advantage he could.

Oscar was fundamentally sound, and his strength was getting his teammates involved. Kobe’s strengths were his will to win and his skills. For those who haven’t seen The Big O in action, here are a few of his highlights.

Oscar thinks he could beat Kobe but knowing how competitive Bryant was, I am picking the Black Mamba over The Big O in this fantasy duel. 

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