SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant is in the stage of his career at which people start asking him for lists of things. He's already listed the top five players he's faced in his career, featuring such luminaries as Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Jordan's Bulls made Kobe's list of the top five toughest teams he's faced -- but neither team LeBron James has played for did. In no particular order:

San Antonio Spurs

Bryant/DuncanNoah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Sacramento Kings

Chris WebberJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Boston Celtics

Kobe BryantAP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Detroit Pistons

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Chicago Bulls

Kobe Bryant and Michael JordanVincent LaForet/AFP/Getty Images

The Bulls, sure. The Spurs, no surprise there. The Kings, though? Remember, during Kobe's championship days, the Kings featured Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Webber and others. Unsurprisingly, Kobe's got a long memory.

Tags:

SportsNation, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons

Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

In his 20 NBA seasons, Kobe Bryant has faced a number of brilliant players: vets near the end of their careers, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton; fellow stars who entered the league around his time, such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; newer standouts such as Dwyane Wade and Stephen Curry.

None of those made his top five "toughest players to face" list. As relayed by our own Baxter Holmes, here it is:

Michael Jordan? No surprise. LeBron James? Not really either. Kevin Durant? When he's healthy, he's electric. And Hakeem Olajuwon? There's a reason they call him The Dream. The biggest surprise, perhaps, is Clyde Drexler -- but no one is about to claim he wasn't great.

The key point is the second thing Bryant told Holmes: It is hard to choose a top five from 1996 to 2015.

Tags:

SportsNation, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

Who was better -- Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan?

December 15, 2015
Dec
15

video

Kobe Bryant is saying goodbye. Tim Duncan isn't -- but he surely will soon. (Right?)

Both players soared over their generational counterparts and won five titles each, albeit in different ways. Kobe flashy, Duncan subdued. Kobe with mountainous highs and abyssal lows, Duncan with a steady run that makes us wonder if he can keep this up for a few more years.

But who was better? Mike and Mike discussed in the video above -- pointing out that it's very hard to choose between the two.

Now it's your turn:

Tags:

NBA, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, SportsNation

video

Kobe Bryant is done at the end of this season, having announced his retirement via a poetic letter on The Players' Tribune on Sunday.

Even though this news is far from surprising -- the 37-year-old has been struggling for several seasons now -- the news of a legend's impending departure always shakes the foundation of sports.

Here is how some notable names reacted:

Post by Russell Simmons.

Meanwhile, off social media, Metta World Peace interacted with his longtime teammate the old-fashioned way: by getting his autograph.

Tags:

NBA, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, SportsNation

Jordan/Shaq/MagicGetty Images

NBA top fives are in the air. Kevin Durant gave his list two weeks ago, and now, one of Durant's picks has made his own choices.

In an interview with The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, former Los Angeles Lakers (and Orlando Magic ... and Miami Heat ... and a few other teams) big man Shaquille O'Neal was asked his all-time starting five. His answer:

"Bill Russell won 11 championships. Charles Barkley is my guy, but I like Karl Malone. Then there's the guy who made me who I am -- Dr. J [Julius Erving]. I've got Michael [Jordan] at the two. Then, I'm going to go with the big guard with Magic Johnson at the one."

Now, O'Neal made sure NOT to put an exclamation point on his list, saying:

"I see a problem with answering these questions. A lot of people get their feelings hurt. Then some of you guys [reporters] be trying to start trouble, like Shaq leaving Kobe [Bryant] off. Then it's Shaq and Kobe.

"But that's my top five for playing reasons and what they did. Russell doesn't have high [statistical] numbers, but with 11 championships, nobody is beating that."

We're not doing that, Shaq! We know you're mending fences with former teammate Kobe Bryant and certainly wouldn't leave him off as a dig. Heck, he wouldn't be on this writer's top five, either -- not because Kobe hasn't been great (he has), but when you get to the upper reaches of the NBA's all-timers list, it's really, really, really competitive.

Having said that, O'Neal did make some interesting choices; Malone and Erving, in particular, don't appear on a great deal of these lists. So we ask you:

Tags:

NBA, NBA, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers

BACK TO TOP View More Posts