Over the years, there have been a lot of guys touted as Kobe Stoppers. Your Ruben Pattersons, your Raja Bells, your Doug Christies — you’ve heard the names. Just a bunch of random guards who made their names making things tough for Kobe Bryant.
But you’re not going to believe this — Kobe Bryant says there is no such thing as a Kobe Stopper. Shocking, I know. From a Los Angeles Times interview:
Obviously no one can stop Kobe Bryant, but there are many self-proclaimed Kobe Stoppers out there. Who’s the best out of them?
The best one would probably be the one that got the best deal off of saying he was a Kobe Stopper. They just do that a lot of times when they’re free agents, and they get big contracts off of it.
But no one can hold up to the name?
[laughing] No. Not one-on-one. No.
This is probably the least surprising thing that Kobe Bryant could ever say. Were you expecting him to admit that someone could shut him down? Not bloody likely. That’s like asking Courtney Love if she thinks Kurt Cobain is the reason Nirvana was great. You know the answer you’re getting before the question is even asked.
By Kobe’s measure, I guess you’d say the best Kobe Stopper is Ruben Patterson, who signed a gigantic contract with the Trail Blazers because he started calling himself “the Kobe Stopper.” That’s probably the best that giving yourself a nickname has ever gone. Or maybe it’s Shane Battier, who peaked when those clips of him almost touching Kobe’s face coincided with Michael Lewis’ New York Times profile. He’s still eating off those, so he’d also be a good choice for the ultimate Kobe Stopper, if we’re going by contracts.
Of course, if we’re really deciding this based on earnings, I guess that makes Vanessa Bryant the world’s foremost Kobe Bryant stopper. Ruben Patterson might have been overpaid for a while, but he never signed a $75 million contract.