The recently retired Shane Battier is currently in China to help in Yao Ming’s charity efforts, and will be part of a charity game this Sunday, playing one final time there.
Battier announced his retirement following the Miami Heat’s loss in Game 5 in the 2014 NBA Finals. Reflecting on his career, Battier says he will miss playing with teammates such as Yao Ming, and LeBron James, but also mentions brothers Marc and former Laker Pau Gasol among others.
Along with mentioning players he’ll miss playing with, Battier was asked who the toughest to guard and he gave a familiar name via Letv:
“Toughest guy I had to guard in my career was Kobe Bryant. He was the toughest.”
Battier goes on to say that while Kobe was “the toughest” to guard throughout his career, it probably wouldn’t be the case now, most likely now being LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
This is not the first time Battier has said this, stating through Twitter a similar response in 2011, and has also, while being his toughest, has called Kobe his “favorite” player to guard:
— Shane Battier (@ShaneBattier) August 7, 2014
Kobe wasn’t only the toughest player Battier, but also his favorite to face:
— Shane Battier (@ShaneBattier) October 19, 2011
The 2014 Yao Fund Charity Game, will be held in the Dongguan Basketball Stadium in China on August 31st.
Here’s relevant tweet from Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding from back in January of 2014. A quote from Kobe talking about Battier:
"I torch Shane every time I play against him." — Kobe Bryant on Shane Battier in 2003. Those were the days!
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) January 24, 2014
Kobe and Battier had their fair share of battles throughout their careers. Although Kobe claims to have torched the defensive specialist every time they went head-to-head, Battier played well against the five-time NBA champion.[divide]
Kobe Bryant Trash-Talking With LeBron James, Old Text Message Revealed