For the last 20 years, Kobe Bryant has been using the fact a high school coach told him Vince Carter is better than him as motivation.
Complex Sports reports via the Los Angeles Daily News:
Way back in 1995, Carter helped his Mainland High School team win a Florida state championship despite suffering wrist and ankle injuries during his senior season. In an effort to motivate Kobe, his Lower Merion High School coach Gregg Downer used to tell him that Carter was a better player than he was after seeing what Carter did at Mainland. It pushed Kobe to lead Lower Merion to their first Pennsylvania state title in more than 50 years and, according to Kobe, it also pushed him to play extra hard every time he faced Carter once they both reached the NBA.
Bryant says the teasing upset him and pissed him off. In 2010, Bryant admitted to Downer the tactic worked.
“When I came into the league,” Kobe said. “I always wanted to play extra hard against Vince because of it.”
When reached for comment, Downer was entertained.
“Of all the things that Kobe could remember,” Downer said, “he remembers me poking fun at him and saying that Vince Carter was better than him. He encapsulates all that stuff in his mind. He wanted to be the best. All these years later, you can’t compare what Kobe’s done to what Carter’s done.”
Carter was unaware that Bryant held such feelings towards him. He was also clueless to the fact that he was in a rivalry with Bryant. He laughed when reporters brought it up but he wasn’t surprised by it.
“Any information he can get for the good of himself to better him, he’s going to use it,” Carter said. “It doesn’t surprise me.”
Today, Carter says that Bryant is the only player who can be compared to Michael Jordan while Bryant says Carter’s one of the best dunkers of all time.
However, Bryant showed he’s still competing with Carter earlier this week.
Two decades later…