Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as the greatest Los Angeles Laker in NBA history. Bryant won 5 NBA titles with the Purple and Gold and finished 4th in all-time scoring after LeBron James, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While Bryant played for an incredible franchise run by the likes of Jerry Bus, Kobe also benefited from playing with a host of very talented players.
As great as Kobe Bryant was, he could not have won 5 chips without help and it is time to rank his best ever teammates that helped him complete an all-time great career.
Here are the top 10 greatest teammates in Kobe Bryant’s career.
10. Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones was the man in Kobe’s way to take over the starting shooting guard position at the start of Bryant’s career. Jones was the experienced 2-way former All-Star who impacted the game with shooting and defense. Jones was Bryant’s superior for 2 straight years, forcing Kobe to improve his game and earn his way into superstardom.
It wouldn’t take long before Kobe Bryant took over from Eddie Jones, and the latter deserves a lot of credit for helping Kobe reach the level he eventually reached. Jones was a loyal servant for the Lakers, playing for 16 seasons by averaging 14.8 PPG and making 2 All-Star Teams.
9. Glen Rice
Glen Rice was one of the best knockdown shooters that Kobe Bryant ever played with, if not the best. Rice won the NBA title in 2000 with the Lakers and was the best offensive player behind Shaq and Kobe. Rice shot 37.6% from three over 2 years with the Lakers, and that jumped to 40.0% in the postseason.
Glen Rice averaged 17.5 PPG and 15.9 PPG in his 2 seasons with the Lakers, and it was no coincidence that his sharpshooting helped Kobe and Shaq win the NBA title in 2000. Whenever Shaq and Bryant were doubled, Glen Rice was usually there to make defenses pay.
8. Andrew Bynum
The talented center had his career cut short with injuries, but he was a beast when he played alongside Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. Bynum was so talented that the Lakers refused to trade him for All-Star point guard Jason Kidd when Kobe Bryant desperately needed help.
Luckily for Bryant and the Lakers, Bynum was an important piece for the Lakers’ 2009 and 2010 NBA titles. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG during his Lakers career and his presence in the paint made the Lakers very difficult to beat.
7. Robert Horry
The man who managed to win 7 NBA rings over his career, Horry won 3 rings with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Known as “Big Shot Rob”, Horry hit countless clutch shots over his Lakers career including an all-time great buzzer-beater against the Sacramento Kings in Game 3 in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
Just like many of Kobe’s role-playing teammates, Horry’s numbers don’t jump out the page but his impact was greater when he played with Bryant. Horry averaged 6.3 PPG over his Lakers career and his clutch shot-making earns him a spot on this list.
6. Metta World Peace
After he changed his name, Metta World Peace was a big-time player for the Lakers, especially during the 2010 NBA playoffs. Metta hit a massive three-pointer off a Kobe Bryant assist in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, which effectively gave the Lakers a solid lead that they held to win the NBA title.
Metta was tough, one of the best defenders in the league, and didn’t mind doing the dirty work for Kobe and the Lakers. Metta played the “Trevor Ariza” role from a year prior, and he certainly made his mark in Lakers lore.
5. Rick Fox
Rick Fox was a very important piece to Kobe Bryant’s championship teams. Fox was part of the Kobe and Shaq 3-peat between 2000-2002. Fox was an original 3-and-D forward who played exceptional defense, spotted up for shots, and played hard every night.
Fox was a glue guy on the Lakers team and he averaged 8.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG over his career with the Purple and Gold. Fox is one of Kobe’s most beloved teammates and his impact will forever be respected by Lakers fans.
4. Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom does not get enough credit for how great he was as Kobe Bryant’s teammate. Odom was the Swiss Army Knife 6th man who could do many things on the floor at one time, making him a valuable asset for Kobe’s championship teams in 2009 and 2010.
Odom’s career averages of 13.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 3.7 APG place him among the top-5 players that helped Kobe win NBA titles. Odom’s career was cut far too short due to multiple personal issues, but it does not take away from how Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant trusted him through the good and bad days.
3. Derek Fisher
One of Kobe’s most beloved teammates, Derek Fisher went through countless battles while sharing a backcourt with Kobe Bryant. Fisher averaged 7.9 PPG over his Lakers career, but his impact on Kobe’s career could not be defined by his numbers.
Fisher was as tough as they come, and as a clutch shot maker and leader on the floor, Fisher won 5 NBA titles alongside Kobe Bryant over their careers together. Fisher’s clutch 0.4 second shot against the San Antonio Spurs is still the most incredible playoff shot ever.
2. Pau Gasol
The second that the Lakers acquired the Spanish star Pau Gasol in 2008 to pair with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, the entire league was put on notice. The future Hall of Famer was an incredibly talented scorer in the paint, and he was a beast on the boards as well. Gasol averaged 17.7 PPG and 9.9 RPG as Kobe’s teammate, and he was the exact player Bryant needed to carry the Lakers to playoff success.
Gasol was the best teammate that Kobe Bryant had since 2008, and they won 2 NBA titles together. Gasol’s unselfishness to accept a second-tier role to Bryant and his high basketball IQ makes him Kobe’s second-best teammate ever and it isn’t close.
1. Shaquille O’Neal
There is no doubt The Diesel is the greatest teammate that Kobe Bryant ever had. Kobe and Shaq won 3 NBA titles together, with O’Neal grabbing 3 Finals MVPs in the process. O’Neal also won the MVP Award during his Lakers career, and he was arguably the most dominant big man in NBA history after Wilt Chamberlain.
Kobe and Shaq formed arguably the best duo in NBA history after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, so O’Neal has to be number one even if his relationship with Bryant was up and down over their time together. The Diesel averaged 27.0 PPG over his Lakers career, making him Kobe’s most dominant teammate ever.