Kobe Bryant, Gerald Wallace: Is Wallace the “Kobe-Stopper” 2.0 Model?

For years, various NBA players in the Western Conference have served time as their team's designated "Kobe-Stopper," a term used to describe someone whose sole responsibility in a game was containing Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

The term was coined during the Lakers' championship years of 2000-02, but the only team who actually succeeded to any degree against the Lakers in the postseason was the San Antonio Spurs.

The theory was as follows: If a team was able to limit the number of field goal attempts and points from Bryant, then their chances of beating the Lakers would improve, since teams had little hope of containing center Shaquille O'Neal.

Two of the more memorable players to be tagged as "Kobe-Stoppers" were former Portland guard Ruben Patterson and former San Antonio forward Bruce Bowen.

The fact that Patterson was recognized in that role is almost laughable—although he did have a few moments, Bryant usually obliterated him in the postseason.

Patterson had the athleticism to guard Bryant, but he lacked the discipline; once Bryant gained an edge the battle was lost for Patterson.

Patterson's Blazers found little success against the Lakers in the playoffs, and considering the way Bryant shined when defended by Patterson, the label of "Kobe-Stopper" may be undeserved.

The same can't be said for Bowen. While he may not have been the athlete that Patterson was, he was well-schooled in defensive technique and principles.

Bryant and Bowen's battles were epic at times, and Bowen is the only player I can remember that truly rattled Bryant with tough, physical—and sometimes dirty—defense.

Bowen may be the only player who has had enough success against Bryant on a somewhat consistent basis to claim that term—at least until now.

New Portland forward Gerald Wallace could be the next player in line to ...

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