Kobe Bryant waged numerous battles over the course of his career. He had rivalries with the likes of Tony Allen, Kenyon Martin, and Ron Artest, and had himself an unforgettable skirmish with Chris Childs for good measure.
However, one of the more underrated matchups took place between the Rockets and Lakers, specifically when Shane Battier guarded the Black Mamba.
Although Battier was never considered a top player, he was an exceptional defender for Houston.
To be more specific, Battier remembers how Kobe Bryant was a big-time jerk:
Not only did Shane Battier reveal the extent of the mind games Kobe liked to play, but he also discussed his coping methods.
"The fact that it was even insinuated that I even had somewhat of a chance to guard him, it was the most insulting thing to Kobe. So he was the biggest jerk to me," Battier said in a recent interview.
"Like, I’m out there spreading all these things about I’m the Kobe Stopper, I can guard him, and he just used to be the biggest jerk. He’d hit my shoulder as I walked by, like he was trying to put me in my place.”
Many NBA players experienced Bryant's psychological warfare, and few were able to get past it.
We really shouldn't be shocked about Battier's depiction of Bryant, especially considering all the similar moments shared by players like Andre Iguodala.
He might have been 'the biggest jerk,' but Kobe Bryant's cold-blooded persona led him to a legendary career. You can't be a Black Mamba without delivering some venom, after all.