When most people think of Vlade Divac, the first thing that likely comes to mind is his time with the Sacramento Kings when their rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers was easily the hottest in the NBA. Divac became extremely hated because of his propensity to flop while trying to guard Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal.
It can be easy to forget that not only did Divac begin his career with the Lakers in 1989, but he also ended his career with the team in 2005. Divac has played with a number of NBA legends, but in an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Divac called Kobe Bryant the best talent he’s ever played with:
It was a lovely story that I finished my career with Kobe, with somebody who I was traded for. I have a lot of respect for the guy. I think he’s definitely, by far, the best talent that I ever, ever played with. (It’s) obviously very close with Magic (Johnson) and Chris Webber, Glen Rice and Peja Stojakovic — it’s unbelievable experience for me to have a teammate like that next to me.
This is noteworthy because of the players Divac has played with. As he said, players like Chris Webber and Glen Rice were extremely talented. Magic Johnson and James Worthy are Hall of Famers who led Divac to his only NBA Finals appearance in 1991, but Divac still chooses Kobe above everyone.
The fact that Divac was traded for Kobe on draft day in 1996 makes this statement pretty ironic, but Kobe’s accomplishments and talent speak for themselves. Most consider him to be one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA and it took only one season with him for Divac to come to his own conclusion about him.
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