• Allen Iverson shared his unforgettable experience with Kobe Bryant during their rookie season
  • Iverson considers Bryant as his brother
  • Bryant admitted that he became obsessed with beating Iverson

Former Philadelphia 76ers superstar Allen Iverson shared his his unforgettable first encounter with the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

What history says about Bryant and Iverson doesn’t end inside the basketball court. Some fans may not know, but Bryant and Iverson have developed a strong bond outside basketball. Shortly after the sudden passing of Bryant, Iverson expressed his devastation about losing his “brother,” Basketball Network reported.

“Words cannot express how I’m feeling today. The only two words that ring in my head – devastated and heartbroken,” Iverson said of Bryant’s death.

He further pointed out that “people will always remember how he and Bryant competed against each other in the league.” However, for Iverson, his relationship with the Lakers legend “goes so much beyond than that.”

“The story of us being drafted in arguable the deepest class of its kind ever in the history of the NBA can be debated for many years to come. However, his generosity and respect for the game is something that I witnessed first-hand every time we stepped on the dance floor to compete,” Iverson recalled.

The Sixers legend also admitted that he can’t get the fact that Bryant is gone out of his head. The tragic event led Iverson to recall his unforgettable first encounter with the late NBA star.

According to Iverson, ever since their rookie season, Bryant was already a “true student of basketball.”

“It was our rookie season and my first trip to L.A. for a game against the Lakers. He came to my hotel, picked me up, and took me to a restaurant. When we returned before he left, he asked me, ‘what are you going to do tonight?’ My reply was, ‘I’m going to the club, what are you going to do? He said I’m going to the gym.’ That is who he always was, a true student of the game of basketball and also the game of life. He prepared relentlessly,” Iverson recalled.

Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson faced each other in the 2001 NBA Finals. Getty Images/Jesse D. Garrabrant

The Bryant-Iverson rivalry went on during their prime. Prior to his sudden death, the five-time MVP revealed that he became obsessed of beating Iverson and in the process, “AI” helped him become the “Black Mamba.” And now that Bryant is gone, Iverson vowed to always respect Mamba as a competitor, friend and brother.

“There is something we can all learn from the Mamba mentality, and from the way my brother lived his life. He will always have my respect as a competitor, as a friend, as a brother,” Iverson vowed.