With 20 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant has faced off against some of the best teams the league has ever seen.
Multiple playoff battles against excellent teams has produced plenty of rivals for Kobe, but a few teams have stood out in his eyes.
According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Kobe listed the five toughest teams he has faced, and there are some expected names:
Kobe’s top 5 toughest teams he played: Spurs in playoffs, Kings in early 2000's, Celtics in 08 Finals, Pistons in 04 Finals, Bulls w/ MJ
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 21, 2015
Overall, this list makes a lot of sense. Those Bulls teams that Kobe played were some of the greatest in the history of the NBA and the Bulls of Kobe’s rookie year won 69 games just one year after setting the NBA record with 72 wins.
Kobe also had many battles over the years with the Spurs and most consider him and Tim Duncan to be the two greatest players of this generation. The 2004 Pistons team dominated the Lakers in the Finals that year, beating them in five games and holding Kobe to only 38 percent from the field.
The battles with the Kings in the early 2000s and the Celtics at the end of the decade, however, were the most emotional and heated of any series Kobe was involved in. The Lakers and Kings battled multiple seasons, most notably in 2002, and the Celtics win over the Lakers in the 2008 Finals has always been the one that Kobe regrets most.
All the teams listed were extremely talented and their inclusion on this list makes perfect sense when thinking of Kobe’s career.