Kobe Bryant studied sharks to learn how to guard Allen Iverson

To guard Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant needed a bigger boat.

Bryant wrote an article for The Player’s Tribune detailing how Allen Iverson made him work harder as a player.

After Iverson scored 41 points on him in 1999, Bryant became “obsessed” with finding a way to shut down the 76ers guard, going as far as to study great white sharks.


To stop Allen Iverson (l.), Kobe Bryant said he looked at the way great white sharks (r.) hunt seals off the coast of South Africa.

(MARK J. TERRILL/AP/Peter_Nile/iStock/Getty Images)

Bryant said he read all he could on Iverson, watched as much game film as he can, studied his successes and looked for a weakness.

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“I searched the world for musings to add to my AI Musecage. This led me to study how great white sharks hunt seals off the coast of South Africa,” Bryant said. “The patience. The timing. The angles.”


Kobe Bryant (l.) helped guide the Lakers to an NBA Championship in 2001 with a win over Allen Iverson (r.) and the 76ers.


The Lakers legend was able to channel his inner “Jaws” the next time he was matched up against Iverson.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson put Bryant on Iverson for the second half of a game after “The Answer” had 16 points at halftime. Bryant was able to hold Iverson scoreless in the second half.

Bryant got his revenge and swore he’d approach every matchup this way, as “a matter of life and death.”

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“I will choose who I want to target and lock in. I will choose whether or not your goals for the upcoming season compromise where I want to be in 20 years,” Bryant wrote. “If they don’t, happy hunting to you. But if they do…I will hunt you obsessively. It’s only natural.”

Just like the ending of “Jaws,” Bryant’s hunting was eventually rewarded even further. The Lakers knocked off the 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals in just five games. After losing Game 1, the Lakers won four-straight to win the title, giving Bryant another notch over Iverson.

kobe bryant
allen iverson

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