Philadelphia 76ers' legend Allen Iverson and the late Kobe Bryant both joined the NBA in 1996.  Both would go on to have Hall of Fame careers.  And in 2001, they competed against each other in the NBA Finals.  (Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers beat Iverson's Sixers 4 games to 1).

Yesterday, Iverson took to Instagram to express his feelings about Bryant's death,  His statement read...
"Words cannot express how I'm feeling today. The only two words that ring in my head — devastated and heartbroken. I cannot seem to shake this feeling no matter what I've tried to do since hearing this yesterday.

People will always remember how we competed against each other in the league, but it goes much deeper than that for me. The story of us being drafted in arguably 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.

It's one memory of him that I can't stop thinking about. It was our rookie season and my first trip to LA 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. 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.

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vanessa, their children and the families of all of the victims of yesterday's tragedy. As a father, I cannot wrap my head around how they must feel. We are not okay. But we will find the strength to pull through this together because that's what Kobe would want us to do."

 


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