Back in 2001, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant battled for an NBA title at the peak of their powers. Both have declined since — Iverson more so than Bryant — but the now-retired Sixers star retains the utmost respect for the five-time champion.
As Bryant works to return from a partially torn left Achilles tendon, Iverson was asked whether he thinks the 35-year-old Lakers guard has anything left. “The Answer” does not sound concerned.
“If he can’t kill, he’s not going to do it,” Iverson told Bleacher Report’s Lance Fresh. “You don’t have to worry about Kobe Bryant. I mean, that killer is in him regardless. If he had to go out there and play in a wheelchair, he’d be the best player in a wheelchair you’ve ever seen. So you don’t have to worry about Kobe. If he’s out there, then he’s ready to be out there and he’s going to be Kobe Bryant.”
Nobody with a brain who has followed Bryant’s career to this point doubts that he will get back onto the court. Bryant’s pride is too strong to allow him to end his career writhing on the floor of Staples Center back in April.
The more rational questions involve how effective Bryant will be. Yes, he can play again. But can he perform close to the level of the player who has a 25.5 points per game career scoring average and 12 All-Star game appearances to his credit?
In other words, is Kobe still going to be Kobe?
“Hell, yeah,” Iverson said. “He gonna be Kobe.”