There’s no denying Kobe Bryant is one of the best 1-on-1 players in history. Even as a young stud, this was considered his greatest skill. Just ask Jerry Stackhouse, who was rumored to have taken a beating at the hands of the 17-year-old Black Mamba. However, Stackhouse cleared the air regarding their infamous 1-on-1 duel by sharing what happened.
Pass the ball!
A 17-year-old Kobe spent some time with the players from his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers. They were giving him tips on how to hone his game. According to Stackhouse — who spent his first two and a half seasons in Philly — they nagged him to pass the ball more.
“What happened with Kobe was nobody really wanted to play with Kobe,” Stackhouse said. “[Former La Salle star and NBA player] Lionel Simmons, you used to always see him pulling Kobe to the side, like, ‘Man, you gotta pass the ball! You gotta learn how to do this!’ Stackhouse said, per the Woj Pod.
Stackhouse added that they held pick-up games, and Kobe wasn’t even selected to play. They already knew that Bryant would want to take over through his scoring. Passing the ball wasn’t really his thing, much to the chagrin of others.
17-year-old Kobe vs 20-year-old Stackhouse
During one of Kobe’s visits, he played some 1-on-1 with Stackhouse. And the myth is that the Los Angeles Lakers icon beat him badly. While Stackhouse admitted to losing to Bryant in their 1-on-1 duels, he clarified that he won some games, too. Stackhouse believes that the real events in their duel have been skewed over the years because of how Bryant grew into a myth-like basketball figure.
“Come on, man. Me at 20 years old, can you imagine a 17-year-old beating me consistently? I’d have hurt him first, real talk. Just physically, that could never happen to me. Did we play one-on-one? Yes. Did he beat me, did he maybe win a game? Yes. Did he consistently beat Jerry Stackhouse at 20 years old when he was 17? Hell no. I’m putting an end to that story. … Was he super talented and everyone saw great potential in him? Yes, but those scenarios … of Kobe Bryant, they’re a little bit of a different story when you go talk to people that were actually in the gym,” Stackhouse said.
It doesn’t sound like Stackhouse is bitter that his name has been tarnished over the years because of that 1-on-1 game. He just wants to clear all the rumors and boost his stock a bit. He wants the whole world to know that Kobe was human. He was once defeated in a 1-on-1 game — his bread and butter.