Former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant put together an incredible career that spanned over two decades. During that stretch, Bryant played with many players that he experienced a tremendous amount of success that helped him achieve greatness along the way. He reached the mountaintop to establish himself as an all-time great. However, there is one player that the first-ballot Hall of Famer hoped he had the chance to play alongside with the Lakers during the prime of his career.
Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career
For two decades, Bryant donned a Lakers uniform, where he put together one of the most illustrious careers in league history.
That saw him rack up numerous accolades along the way, such as being an 18-time All-Star, a five-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection, nine-time All-Defensive First-Team member, and three-time All-Defensive Second Team selection, among others. He also holds many Lakers’ all-time record while placing himself third on the all-time regular-season scoring list and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list.
Bryant was one of the league’s most decorated players that earned a great deal of admiration and respect from his peers over the years. In many ways, he is held in high esteem as Michael Jordan was for the generation that followed him.
Kobe Bryant wished he could have played with Tracy McGrady
Throughout his career, it was well-known that both he and Tracy McGrady had a strong deal of respect for each other. The two had steady mutual respect for their ability on the court and their commitment to their respective crafts.
Bryant had often referred to McGrady as the toughest player he had to guard in his career. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he told Rachael Nichols on ESPN’s The Jump that he wishes the fellow Hall of Famer could have teamed up with him.
“I always wish if I had one player to play with it’s this guy. He could do everything that I could do but he was taller. When I talk to kids about it that’s what I tell them. They always ask who is the hardest player I had to defend. It’s pretty easy it was Tracy. He could everything I could do.”
Bryant and McGrady grew close to each other off the court as the two had similar paths to the NBA. Each came out of high school and rose to stardom behind their work ethic and talent. The pairing of the two could have changed the path of their careers.
How would have a Kobe/T-Mac pairing worked out?
That possibility could have built something special as the two were among the best players in the league at the top of their games.
Their respective games were quite similar, but their commitment to their craft would have pushed each other to greater heights. They nearly became teammates early in Bryant’s career as Lakers general manager Jerry West tossed around the idea of bringing in McGrady to play with his close friend and Shaquille O’Neal.
That could have formed an incredibly tainted trio that could have taken the league by storm. There were also other instances such as after the 2003-04 season that could have seen the Lakers make a serious push to team up McGrady and Bryant after they decided to trade O’Neal. There were a few instances that a trade pairing them together could have happened.
It’s one of the “What-if” scenarios that could have seen a special duo form between Bryant and McGrady that could have seen them reach tremendous success.