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The late great Kobe Bryant always played at a different intensity compared to his peers at every level in basketball. It didn't matter if opponents were already professional or not, Bryant always felt that he was better than you.

There were rumors flying wild that in several practices at a local Philadelphia high school, that Bryant beat Jerry Stackhouse one-on-one while Bryant was still in high school.

The rumors were getting so spicy, that Stackhouse himself went on The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski to squash those rumors.

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“Come on, man. Me at 20 years old, can you imagine a 17-year-old beating me consistently? I’d have hurt him first, real talk. Just physically, that could never happen to me. Did we play one-on-one? Yes. Did he beat me, did he maybe win a game? Yes. Did he consistently beat Jerry Stackhouse at 20 years old when he was 17? Hell no. I’m putting an end to that story.”

While playing at Villanova, Kerry Kittles was also one of the other players that Bryant had matched up with when the Black Mamba was in high school. In an interview with Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, Kerry Kittles recalled when he initially met Bryant as a high school player.

“John [Lucas] used to have workouts all the time at Saint Jo[seph]. I’m working out with John, and Kobe comes in, local high school kid, I was like ‘oh snap, this boy can go, this boy is talented’. It was workouts and workouts, and then we playing one on one, and I was like ‘bro, you ready for the league now’. He knew he was ready, he didn’t need me to tell him that. He was just that talented, and that hungry, he really wanted to dominate.”

The intensity and work ethic of the Black Mamba was always there. He always had the mentality that when he stepped on the court, he was the best player. The five-time champion set the standard to players today in terms of how much he was willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness.