Since then, the aforementioned players and many others have had their crack at Bryant. Shane Battier all but perfected sticking his hand in Bryant’s face instead of contesting the ball. It never worked. Bryant would respond to that tactic with his famous “You can’t guard me” taunts.
Ron Artest, then a member of the Rockets, tried the combative approach to defense and just got up in Bryant’s face. A few technicals and an ejection early on in that series and Artest would have to play more reserved, sharing the load with Battier.
As if experience would be an advantage, Grant Hill saw a fair share of Bryant in the 2010 Western Conference Finals. The last images we have of Hill guarding Bryant was Bryant’s double pump fade-away before tapping coach Alvin Gentry on the behind.
As if youth and ignorance might encourage a young Ronnie Brewer to make a name for himself in 2009, Kobe showed the young guard first hand his complete set of circus shots and impossible makes. At one point, ESPN’s Doris Burke, who was calling the game, yelled out “Oh come on! This just isn’t fair!”
When their players are deemed helpless, sometimes the fans will help in the effort. In 2010 against the Celtics in the Finals, Chris Rock got in Bryant’s ear during a timeout on the floor. As the camera paned out to show them sitting a seat apart, Bryant is shown pensive and focused on the game, completely ignoring the comedian.