Allen Iverson continues to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant. In an interview with The Players' Tribune, Iverson talked about the time he got to play with Bryant at the All-Star game. He said the two would go at it on the basketball court before being teammates for one night.
"It was always a battle between me and him," Iverson said. "And then, having the chance to be on the same team with him, looking back on it, like, that was it. You know what I mean? I mean, looking back on like, that was it. ...That was it. Just having the chance to play with my guy. Not knowing that would be the only time that I had a chance to play with him."
"He was younger than me, but I actually looked up to him and his greatness."September 7, 2020
Along with the video interview, Iverson wrote a lengthy piece about Bryant for The Player's Tribune, which was published on Aug. 24, one day after Bryant's birthday. He wrote that the two would battle hard on the court, but there would be no hate or animosity.
"Me and you, every single time we stepped on that floor, we were going to war. But it wasn't an animosity thing. There was never any beef," Iverson wrote. "It was like heavyweight fighters beating the hell out of one another. And then at the bell, it's nothing but love and respect. Greatness needs company, and we needed each other. Mike needed Prince like Prince needed Mike. Tyson needed Holyfield like Holyfield needed Tyson."
Iverson went on to write about a time when the two were rookies and Bryant was mad when he saw Iverson score 35 points against the New York Knicks at Madison square garden. "You got so mad that you smashed up the hotel room and you started researching me like you were in the CIA. 'GET ME THE FILE ON A.I.' — I bet it was like that. Studying how great white sharks hunt down seals in the Pacific Ocean and whatnot," Iverson wrote.
Iverson was the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft and Bryant was taken 12 picks later by the Charlotte Hornets, who immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Iverson and Bryant are two of the four players in the class that are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The other two are Steve Nash and Ray Allen.