Rip Hamilton Says He Was 'Low-Key Scared' To Play Against Kobe

This is a three-time All-Star talking.

Will Burchfield
May 13, 2020 - 3:30 pm
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With the NBA suspended due to the coronavirus and Michael Jordan starring in the 'The Last Dance,' it's a good time to discuss the greatest players of all time. Jordan, most agree, is No. 1.

Then it gets interesting. 

One of the more polarizing debates concerns Kobe Bryant. Some say he was the best scorer ever. Others say he was a ball hog. What you can't dispute -- besides his five NBA championships -- was his intensity. The dude was Jordan-esque in the way he attacked the game. 

Take it from former Piston Rip Hamilton, who has Kobe No. 2 on his all-time list, behind Jordan and tied with LeBron. 

"He's probably the only guy that I competed against in my 14-year NBA career that when I would come into the game, I was low-key scared. I wasn't scared of anybody. The reason why is, Kobe was the type of player that was gonna try to kill you when the first minute of play started until the final buzzer went off," Hamilton said Wednesday in a conversation with CBS Sports

"You couldn't let him get 10-12 points in the first quarter, because he was gonna try to give you 50. He scored 81 points in a game. Probably one of the most complete players that we have ever seen in our game of basketball."

Kobe Bryant's Five Best Games In Detroit

That's a three-time All-Star talking. And a guy who faced Bryant dozens of times, including in the 2004 NBA Finals. He knows of what he speaks. 

The first time they squared off, in Hamilton's rookie season with the Wizards, Kobe had seven points entering the fourth quarter and finished with 21. In their first meeting following Hamilton's trade to the Pistons, Kobe had 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 30. He could get you any way he chose. 

To Hamilton, "Kobe Bryant is the closest guy to Michael Jordan that we have ever seen."

"When you look at his stats, you see, yes, he was an 18-time All-Star, he was a 15-time All-NBA player, tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar," Hamilton said. "But when Magic Johnson comes out and says Kobe Bryant is the best Laker of all time, that means better than him, and better than the guy Magic played with, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

"You gotta understand, he's still top-five all time in scoring, but he played with another great player in Shaquille O'Neal. If he didn't play with Shaquille O'Neal, he probably would be No. 1 on the scoring list."