Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever lace them up for the Los Angeles Lakers. Given Kobe’s status in the game, it’s understandable if the San Antonio Spurs have a complicated relationship with the future Hall of Famer.
Fans spent many years hating on Kobe due to the many heartbreaks he gave them during the regular season and the playoffs. However, the way they paid tribute to him on the day of his untimely passing speaks volumes of the respect and love the Black Mamba gets from the Spurs players and fans.
What better way to remember Kobe than to talk about the eight ways he ripped the hearts of millions of Spurs fans out there? Here are some of his greatest hits against the Spurs. This might sting a bit for Spurs fans, but there’s no better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
Kobe’s first big game against the Spurs
Spurs fans may not have thought much of Kobe after a terrible performance in his first game. However, Kobe’s second game against them let the Spurs know he meant business.
He finished his first official game at the Alamodome with 19 points, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. His superb performance helped the Purple and Gold cruise to a 99-92 victory.
Kobe’s first standout playoff performance vs Spurs
By the time the 1999 playoffs rolled around, San Antonio already knew that it had a problem. Kobe’s star was rising, and this was the year he finally started showing up in the playoffs.
While his first game in the 1999 Western Conference semifinals was disappointing. He made up for it with a terrific Game 2 outing. He ended the night with 28 points, eight rebounds, and four assists on 48% shooting. The Lakers lost that night, but that was his statement game against the Tim Duncan-led Spurs.
Kobe Bryant scored 45 to create a sweep
Kobe met the Spurs two years later at the 2001 Western Conference Finals, and the many Spurs fans bitterly remember that series as a cruel sweep. Bryant finished with an incredible performance in front of the Alamodome crowd.
His 45 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block were indicative of how well he and the Lakers performed in the 104-90 win over the Spurs. They won the second championship of their three-peat that year.
Kobe crushed Spurs’ hearts in their final Alamodome game
The 2002 Western Conference semis between the Lakers and Spurs was the last series played in the Alamodome.
Kobe Bryant spoiled it for the Spurs. He ended up with 31 points, six rebounds, six assists, and a block in a Game 3 win. The Lakers went on to win the series.
Kobe’s 36 made Spurs sweat bullets
The Spurs won it all the following season, kick-starting their existence at the AT&T Center. However, Kobe Bryant almost spoiled the fun for them with a fantastic Game 5 performance in the Western Conference semis.
He finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the Spurs’ 96-94 victory. He shot 5/11 from 3-point land, the most he attempted and made throughout his 2003 postseason run.
Kobe dropped 42 in 2004
Spurs fans will likely remember this run as the moment Kobe Bryant dumped 42 points on their team. He was slowly becoming the Black Mamba.
He finished a 98-90 win with six rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a block.
Kobe bit the Spurs for 39 in a final playoff duel
It feels weird, but the Black Mamba did not face the Spurs in a playoff situation ever again after the 2008 Western Conference Finals. However, this prefaced the incredible second run the Lakers had with Kobe Bryant due to Pau Gasol’s arrival.
Kobe clinched a first Finals ticket in four years at Staples Center with a dominant stat line of 39 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals on 53% shooting against the Spurs in that conference final.
Kobe walks off in style
Kobe Bryant and the Spurs may have never crossed paths in the playoffs after 2008, but they always appreciated each other’s presence. When the Black Mamba announced his retirement during the 2015-16 season, the Spurs gave him a heart-warming tribute.
Despite being battered and bruised, Kobe Bryant finished with 25 points, two rebounds, and five assists. There’s no better way to end such a storied relationship than by playing it out on the court the way they did.