The playoff battles between the Spurs and Lakers in the late 90s through the 2000s were some of the most heated and competitive in NBA history.
Over a 16 year span from 1999 to 2014, either San Antonio or Los Angeles won the Western Conference 13 times and won five championships a piece.
Kobe Bryant recently reminisced about those playoff series in a video podcast series titled “allthesmoke” hosted by Matt Barnes and former Spurs forward Stephen Jackson.
Barnes asked Bryant about playing with Shaquille O’Neal and how many championships the pair would have won in LA had they always been on the same page.
Bryant somewhat shot down the question and brought up the fact the Spurs were such a difficult opponent for the Lakers during that time period, it was not ever easy against San Antonio.
“San Antonio was tough,” Bryant said. “It wasn’t like Shaq and I weren’t on the same page. When the playoffs came around, we always were on the same page. We just got beat.”
“The bigger question is how many would we have won if the Spurs weren’t the Spurs?” Bryant said. “If they weren’t in the picture, then we probably would have won ten in a row.”
Bryant added Tim Duncan was nearly unstoppable in the playoffs and the combination of coaching and talent was the perfect storm for the Spurs.
Bryant and Duncan both retired after the 2015-16 season and were both recently named Class of 2020 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.