Kobe Bryant was never afraid to use unorthodox tactics to gain an edge on an opponent.
In a new article for The Player’s Tribune, Bryant reveals that he studied how great white sharks hunted seals in an effort to improve his defensive strategy against Allen Iverson. Seriously. After allowing Iverson to drop 41 points and 10 assists on him during a regular season game in March of 1999, Bryant became obsessed with finding ways to stop the man nicknamed “The Answer.” From Bryant:
I had to study this man maniacally. I obsessively read every article and book I could find about AI. I obsessively watched every game he had played, going back to the IUPU All-American Game. I obsessively studied his every success, and his every struggle. I obsessively searched for any weakness I could find. 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. The patience. The timing. The angles.
Pretty insane, right?
Well, the next time Kobe was tasked with guarding AI, he held him to zero points over the entire second half. Studying how a great white shark stalks a seal to get inspiration for basketball defense might sound crazy, but AI was a small player who possessed lethal quickness and agility. Now watch how this seal is able to evade a great white before it finally gets caught:
See any similarities? Yes, Kobe was crazy. But there was a method to his madness.