In Kobe Bryant's rookie season for the Lakers in 1996, he played five minutes and scored two points in a disappointing game against the Houston Rockets.
"Working harder wasn't enough," Bryant says. "I had to study this man maniacally." And he did: "I obsessively read every article and book I could find about AI. I obsessively watched every game he had played. ... I obsessively studied his every success, and his every struggle. I obsessively searched for any weakness I could find."
Bryant's fixation paid off. A year later, he had a second chance at guarding Iverson. He didn't score once, Bryant recalls of the rematch: "When I started guarding AI, he had 16 at the half. He finished the game with 16.