After Jordan’s departure, the NBA was pretty much Kobe’s league, and the Black Mamba will definitely go down as a top 3 shooting guard in basketball history, regardless of his doubters and haters, as there’s absolutely no denying his greatness.
Besides, the 5 rings on his fingers also back Kobe’s legacy, a guy that you can either love or hate, and that has made pretty clear that doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you choose to do the latter, showing absolutely no remorse, hesitation or any little sign of weakness through his entire career.
But, in the way to those 5 championships, Kobe definitely had to step over some other players to reach stardom, preventing several talented opponents from fulfilling their dream of becoming NBA Champions, so today, we’ll discuss the top 11 players that weren’t able to win the ring because of Kobe.
Honorable Mention: Peja Stojakovic
11. Jalen Rose
Coming to the NBA as a member of Michigan’s Fab Five, Jalen Rose had a pretty decent NBA journey that lasted for 13 years playing as a shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
But, it was with the Pacers that Jalen had his best shot at the Championship, averaging over 24 points per contest in the 2000 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, but there was absolutely no stopping a young Kobe that wind up winning the first of his 3 consecutive NBA championships.
10. Latrell Sprewell
Polemics and questionable decisions aside, Latrell Sprewell was a great NBA talent through most of his career, becoming one of the most iconic scorers of his era before ending completely broke due to his refusal to sign a new contract.
And on top of that, he winds up retiring without any jewelry, as Sprewell and Sam Cassell joined forces with the Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett to try and make a run at the title, but Kobe Bryant and his Lakers destroyed them in 6 games in the Western Conference Finals.
9. Yao Ming
Well, Yao Ming’s importance in the league goes way beyond the courts, as the giant player wasn’t as talented and dominant as he should’ve been considering his metrics, but the hall of famer still deserves a lot of praise.
Sadly, the Asian couldn’t top his very successful NBA journey with a Championship, as Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers managed to beat a Tracy McGrady-less Houston Rockets in 7 games in their way to yet another championship.
Deron was the ultimate face of the Utah Jazz and probably the best point guard in the league at some point, but the injury prone guard was never able to reach the greatest stage of the Association due to Los Angeles.
And that’s perhaps why Williams wind up changing sides to suit up for an Eastern Conference team, as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers knocked them out of the playoffs in 3 consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2010.
Stoudemire’s prime came to a drastic and quick end due to constant nagging pains and injuries, but during his Phoenix stint, the dominant power forward was one of the most prominent presences in the paint through the entire NBA.
Still, that fast-paced Phoenix Suns offense with that vertiginous athleticism and great consistency was never able to get past the Lakers, that knocked them out of the 2010 playoffs thanks to Kobe and his more than 34 points per game.
Carmelo Anthony has always been in the spotlight for his lack of success in the postseason with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, not being able to even play for the ring at the Final stage of the competition.
Nevertheless, he owes part of that lack of success to Kobe Bryant, as the Mamba was completely unstoppable during that 2009 playoff run, defeating the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals averaging over 34 points, more than 5 boards and over 5 assists per game.
Dwight Howard single handed led the Orlando Magic to a championship run just to watch Kobe Bryant completely whoop their butts in that amazing 2009 performance, as there was absolutely nothing strong enough to stop Kobe from winning yet another championship.
A couple of seasons later, DH12 arrived at the Staples to try and win that ring alongside the very same guy that took it from him, but the result was a major mayhem as most of you can remember, so perhaps Kobe stopped him twice from being a champion (?).
4. Steve Nash
As Stoudemire, Nash was one of the greatest players in the league during his Phoenix Suns tenure, even winning back to back MVPs due to his amazing basketball IQ and how perfectly he ran the Sun’s offense.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned earlier; there was absolutely no stopping Kobe during those days either, and the Suns were knocked out in the Conference Finals before Nash also tried to play alongside “vino” to retire as a Champion.
Reggie Miller spent his entire NBA career with the Indiana Pacers, and he definitely has to be one of the most unlucky guys to ever play the sport, as when he was finally able to play without Michael Jordan in the league, he had to face Kobe to try and get the ring.
The shooting guard had the chance to retire as a champion during that 2000 playoff run the Pacers did alongside Jalen Rose, but Kobe and Shaq had other plans and wind up taking the ring in 6 games.
2. Chris Webber
Another member of the Fab Five makes our list after Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers completely busted the Kings’ chances of contention in three consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2002.
During that 2002 playoff series, the Kings were finally on the verge of overcoming the Mamba and his buddies, but the Lakers wind up winning 2 in a row to earn a 4-3 series victory over Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings.
Allen Iverson is, no questions asked, one of the 5 most talented players to ever lace them up and play on an NBA court, but he was never able to put the cherry on top of the sundae with a championship for his beloved Philadelphia 76ers, or any other team he played for.
His biggest chance was during that memorable 2001 Finals, where he single handed led the Sixers to the promise land only to fall against Shaq and Kobe despite more than 35 points per contest from the Answer.