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Tony Allen as Kobe Bryant stopper? Fans choose best defender to shut down Black Mamba

tony allen defends against nba star Kobe Bryant
Tony Allen guards Kobe Bryant in one of their encounters on the court. Pic credit: NBA on TNT YouTube

It’s no secret that former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was amongst the most unstoppable scorers in NBA history. However, a new debate has erupted on social media regarding which player may have been the best defender to guard Kobe.

There are plenty of all-time great defenders on the list, but many fans have made their choice crystal clear: Put Tony Allen on Kobe Bryant for the stop.

ESPN stirs up best Kobe defender debates

An ESPN SportsCenter Twitter post on Sept. 2 gave the fans a thought to consider. It involves choosing the one defender capable of getting a stop against Kobe Bryant one-on-one. With that question, came 10 choices, all of whom are solid defenders from over the years. Check out the images below.

Just two of the players appearing above are in that continuous battle over who is the G.O.A.T. when it comes to NBA history. Michael Jordan and LeBron James are considered great in the game and in many cases, intimidating for opponents.

Kobe has also faced both of them during different stages of his career. He was on the rise as MJ was departing, while LeBron started to rise towards the tail-end of Kobe’s career.

There are also some players on the list that are known for stellar defense and getting into opponents’ heads. They include Draymond Green and Dennis Rodman. Besides LeBron and Green, Kawhi Leonard is the only other current player in the league that was listed. Based on his work against Giannis Antetotkounmpo in the NBA Playoffs, it makes a strong case for him to be the choice.

Other players above include talented defenders, some of whom won league awards, garnered multiple All-Star appearances, and won championship rings. However, many fans believe one specific player was rudely omitted from that list. Here he is during the 2008 NBA Finals as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Is Tony Allen the best Kobe Bryant stopper?

All of those players up above have nabbed All-Star Game appearances during their famous careers and some have won Defensive Player of the Year. Tony Allen has not. He is a six-time All-NBA Defensive Team member and one-time champion and is also considered the answer to SportsCenter’s question.

Fans in the know were quick to point out the disrespect in various comments on ESPN’s SportsCenter post and on their own tweets.


There are plenty of fans commenting on that post or on their own Twitter feeds about the disrespect of leaving Allen off the list. This is just one comment that echoes the sentiments of many.

Need further evidence that Tony Allen is the man most capable of shutting Kobe Bryant down? Check out the clip below from Tony himself. He posted it back in 2016 after a Grizzlies win at the Staples Center. Allen is showing off an autographed shoe which literally has Kobe saying he’s the best defender he ever faced. That’s quite a statement right there!

Based on that video, Tony Allen is the Kobe Bryant stopper, but unfortunately, ESPN may be able to claim that he was left off that list for a reason. That leaves people to debate whether some of the game’s best defenders of all-time could stop Kobe.

Some may believe Kawhi is the answer as he is on the rise and looks capable of stopping most of the league’s best players today. Others could argue that it’s Scottie Pippen in his prime or The Glove Gary Payton.

But even Kobe Bryant told everyone that Tony Allen is the choice too. When asked who was the “toughest defender” for him, Kobe quickly responded, “Tony Allen, that’s easy.”

The debate rages on as fans contemplate who they’d choose from the 10 players shown on ESPN’s controversial new post. However, if you ask Kobe or Tony, or watch the evidence, you know the answer.

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