During the 2009 NBA playoffs, Shane Battier, one of the top defenders in the league was given the task of bringing Bryant’s offense to a screeching halt. The Houston Rockets staff presented Battier with a 40-page manual on how to guard Kobe Bryant that according to Inside the NBA’s Craig Sager, he spent all of his Cinco de Mayo holiday studying in order to decipher every move the Black Mamba had in his arsenal.
In case you’re wondering, Bryant scored 40 points that night.
With all the fuss surrounding Battier’s alleged ability to defend Bryant and possibly limit his damage against the Rockets, what ensued seemed inevitable. How could Kobe back down from that challenge? Perhaps the advanced scouts should’ve added page 41 and suggested Battier be better off indulging in a shot of Patron at El Coyote and calling it a night.
Clearly, Charles Barkley put it best when he said the only person who had a shot at guarding Bryant was “the person you talk to when you get on your damn knees at night.”
Adding insult to injury was Bryant, re-iterating the fact that his familiar foe Battier obviously wasn’t receiving any divine intervention that night and shouted, “He can’t guard me,” to TNT broadcaster Doug Collins during the third quarter.
It’s that attitude that has rubbed people the wrong way throughout Kobe’s career. At times he lacks regard for human feelings and emotions, is often surely and abrasive, even towards his teammates and his manner sometimes arrogant and cocky. Kobe’s killer instincts have made him all the rage among Lakers fans, the envy of opposing fans and the vain in many a team’s existence.
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