Video of Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant arguing over who would win in a game of one-on-one has recently surfaced. Dustin takes a look at this and the NBA circle of life.
What you just watched is a video that surfaced yesterday of Team USA and Lakers star Kobe Bryant and USA Select Team and NBA rookie of the year Kyrie Irving playfully agreeing to a one-on-one game of basketball with the loser donating $50,000 to the winners’ choice of charity.
It’s not even clear how the conversation came up, but in the video Irving is steadfastly confident in his ability to beat Kobe, he tells Kobe to his face that Kobe can’t guard him and all the while, Kobe just laughs it off and suggests that Irving stop while he’s ahead.
That the video comes out just days after Kobe ignited a media frenzy when he suggested that the 2012 USA Team would be able to defeat the vaunted ’92 Dream Team that featured Bird, Magic, Jordan, Barkley and more is almost poetic.
The reaction of the Dream Team members asked about Kobe’s statement is about the same as Kobe’s to Kryie’s bold confidence that he could top him.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way because that’s what the sport needs. If Jordan had just come out and said “Yeah, he’s probably right, I mean, they have tons of length and speed to make up for the lack of size and they probably could take us,” then the media would’ve lambasted Jordan and declared his competitive edge all but gone. It’s the basketball circle of life; Jordan is the bold, confident player of his generation, just like Kobe is of this generation. No matter what the challenge presented before them is, you know they’re not going to go down quietly. When you hear that Kobe said his team could beat the Jordan Dream Team, you think to yourself “Of course he did” and of course Jordan laughs it off. When Kobe was asked again about it a day after Jordan’s response, did he back off and say “Oh, well, I was just saying…” No, he was as bold and confident as ever, vintage Kobe.
But back to the matter at hand, Kyrie and Kobe going one-on-one for charity is something that would be great for the league. It doesn’t even matter who would win (I say Kobe’s fade away proves to be too tough to guard, but it’s close) because Kobe cements his status as the consummate competitor who refuses to back down from any challenge, and Kyrie emerges as an even bigger budding star in the league with the brash confidence to take on anyone, regardless of legacy. Irving is already on the rise and has become a legitimate marketing athlete with his highly entertaining and successful “Uncle Drew” campaign for Pepsi Max.
Whenever the two do meet on the court, be it Lakers vs. Cavaliers or if they can go one-on-one, the winners will be the fans, getting a chance to watch the past, present and future of the NBA all at once.
Dustin Brewer is an editor-in-chief for HefferBrew and a firm believer that young players and veterans should be playing one-on-one games much more because he’s too impatient waiting for the NBA season to begin again.