Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players the NBA has ever seen. In 20 seasons in the league, Bryant was an 18x All-Star, 2x Scoring Champ, and 5x NBA Champion.
But, according to the NBA legend himself, he might have added more to his resume had he not faced Spurs star, Tim Duncan, along the way. In the new documentary, “Tony Parker: The Final Shot", Bryant admitted that Parker and the Spurs prevented him from winning more Championships.
“I’m Kobe Bryant, and I played against Tony for years,” Bryant began. “Years and years and years. He’s responsible for me not winning more championships. I remember games where Tony had a really really short leash. He makes one mistake and Pop’s [Gregg Popovich] gonna pull him out the game. So I would tell Tony ‘You know what I’m just gonna trap you. Cause if you dribble the ball off your foot, you turn the ball over you’re out the game’. But I think that kind of pressure and environment helped Tony play develop and play in those precious situations.”
The Spurs and Lakers have met seven times during the Bryant era. The Spurs won three of the matchups, being in 1999, 2003, and 2013. Kobe and the Lakers, meanwhile, got series wins in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008.
It's hard to say how many Rings the Spurs cost Bryant, but the dominance of both teams in the Western Conference during that time period was a truly amazing thing to watch.