Dime named Kobe the #1 best go-to player… like we had to be reminded.
DimeMag: No active basketball player inspires grown-man fear quite like Kobe Bryant. Defenders assigned to guard him feel it, as well as teammates who don’t do their jobs. Then on another level, you have Kobe’s NBA peers who sometimes seem fearful of even mentioning anyone but Kobe when asked to identify the League’s best overall player or its most dangerous clutch performer.
I’ve personally asked those questions, and seen several players spit out “Kobe” as if it’s reflex. And from some of them I caught a sense that although they didn’t truly believe that answer, that’s what they were sticking to. Anything else could create a reason for Kobe to single them out for a 50-point statement game or a one-time baptism on the wrong end of a highlight.
Look at Kobe’s recent run with Team USA. Playing with the game’s elite go-to players, from Dwyane Wade to LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony, Kobe wasn’t just the first option in crunch time — he was unquestionably the first option in crunch time. Had Coach K drawn up a play for a cold-shooting Kobe in a crucial situation, the likelihood of one of his teammates steeping in to say, “Nah, Coach, I’M taking this shot!” was unnaturally low.