Dec 5, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) against the New Orleans Hornets during the first half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant Say 'Melo is NBA's Toughest Cover

With the Los Angeles Lakers coming into town for a Thursday night showdown against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant was busy throwing out compliments to Carmelo Anthony.

Dec 11, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts to scoring a three pointer during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Knicks won 100-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with Stephen A. Smith (via ESPN’s Ian Begley), Bryant called ‘Melo the toughest cover in the NBA, even tougher than LeBron James.

“For me, yeah,” Bryant told Smith on Wednesday.  “He’s always been a player that I enjoyed guarding the most,” Bryant said. “He was the most difficult because of his size and his speed.”

“Melo does it all and he’s as strong as a bull,” Bryant said. “For me, I weigh (180 pounds) soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it’s fun but it’s extremely challenging.”

That’s the ultimate compliment coming ‘Melo’s way from one of the greatest to ever play the game. You can see why Bryant and most of the NBA probably fell that way.

Anthony’s shooting range, ability to drive to the rim and score in the post make him one of the most lethal offensive weapons in the NBA. He’s simply a matchup nightmare for almost anyone in the league that has too guard him.

If Bryant thought Anthony was a challenge before, he will be in for a bigger one tonight given the way Anthony has started the season. It’s not just Anthony the scorer now, but Anthony the complete player that Bryant and the Lakers will have to deal with.

With Anthony likely starting at the 4 against the Lakers, it remains to be seen exactly how much time Kobe will spend locked up on ‘Melo, but one thing is for sure- someone in a Lakers’ uniform is going to have their hands full tonight.

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