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Kobe Bryant once told Andre Iguodala before a game he was going to score 50 points on him

He only scored 48, because he's a nice guy.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Tucked away in Marcus Thompson of the Mercury News' excellent postgame story about Andre Iguodala's heroic defensive performance against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the Golden State Warriors game six win against the Oklahoma City Thunderthe swiss-army knife wing revealed that it was a different defensive performance against another superstar that he was most proud of:

"Kobe in his prime," Iguodala said while hiding from the throng of reporters, preferring his teammates get the attention after Game 6.

Iguodala, then in his second season with Philadelphia, drew the assignment of checking Kobe. Young and spry, at the peak of his athleticism, Iguodala was all over the Lakers star in the 76ers' win.

Kobe finished with 17 points on 7-for-27 shooting, a big deal since he is from Philly.

"It was on the front page of the paper," Iguodala said. "After the game, Phil Jackson said it was the best he'd seen someone defend Kobe."

The legendarily competitive Bryant responded to his coach and hometown lauding the then-young Sixers wing as very few outside of Bryant ever would/could:

When the 76ers came to Los Angeles later that 2005-06 season, Kobe came by the Philadelphia locker room. Iguodala wasn't in there, but Kobe left a message.

"Tell Andre 50 tonight," Iguodala said, recalling the message relayed to him. "You know how much he got -- 48."

Who did Kobe leave this message with, and how did they tell Iguodala of Bryant's warning? Just picture a smiling, young Iguodala entering the locker room to a sullen looking Sixers teammate breaking the news to him that quite arguably the best player in the league at the time just came through to let him he was about to drop 50 points on him and try not to laugh. It's impossible.

Stories like this are a reminder that the Lakers, and the league as a whole, are not going to be the same without Kobe.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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