Skip to main content

That time Phil Jackson told Kobe Bryant to go after his defender: "Kobe bust his ass"

Kobe Bryant & Phil Jackson

That time Phil Jackson told Kobe to bust Ruben Patterson's ass

Phil Jackson once encouraged Kobe Bryant to go after his defender Ruben Patterson in one game because of him saying he is a 'Kobe Stopper'

Ruben Patterson a.k.a. Kobe Stopper

Kobe Bryant was one of the most gifted players offensively with various moves he could go to at any given moment, depending on how the defense played him. There weren't many defenders in the NBA throughout his 20-year-long career that we're able to stop him completely, even though some could slow him down if he was having a bad shooting night.

Former NBA player Ruben Patterson is one of those guys who was a self-proclaimed 'Kobe Stopper' even though he said his teammates gave him that nickname. Apparently, he got that nickname when he was still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he would guard Kobe in practice with more success than other players.

In his book Shaq Talks Back, Shaquille O'Neal remembers a scene in the locker room before the game against the Supersonics, in which Phil Jackson told Kobe to bust Patterson's ass on the court. According to Shaq, Jackson heard players joking about Patterson being the Kobe stopper, so he immediately stopped what he was doing and laid out a simple game plan for Kobe to go after Patterson all game long.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"Before we played Seattle last January, Seattle's Ruben Patterson was going off about how he could stop Kobe, how he used to stop him in practice when he was with the Lakers. In the locker room before the game, we're all joking around. Phil's writing on the chalkboard. I turned and said 'Oh yeah, they have the Kobe stopper. Then Phil dropped the chalk. "Kobe bust his ass"

Kobe torched him in mutiple ways

When you permit Kobe to go after a particular player, you know he will not hesitate one second to do just that. Shaq remembers Kobe going absolutely crazy torching Patterson in every possible way with various moves that left everyone speechless. Kobe finished the game with 31 points shooting 61 percent from the field, and interestingly enough, that was the fourteenth win in a row for the Lakers that would eventually lead them to the best record in the NBA and the title.

"In the huddle before the game, I'm yelling All right Kobe, bust his ass! Bust his ass! He gets on the floor, starts throwing it down behind his back, dunking, shooting threes, looking at the crowd, going, 'motherfucker can't stop me. He was shaking his head like uh-uh. Not today. He dropped 31 points on Ruben Patterson and the Supersonics, and we won our fourteenth straight game. Got me so excited, I felt like chanting Kobe, Kobe, Kobe."

Several players throughout Kobe's career wanted to get the best of him, and even though sometimes it seemed they could slow him down, Kobe usually got the last laugh. There wasn't a single guy in the league that was a legitimate Kobe stopper even though Kobe himself said Tony Allen always did the best job defending him. Kobe was incredibly meticulous on offense, and there was really no defense that could stop him unless he was having one of those lousy shooting nights, but even then, he knew how to adapt and do other things on the court to help his team win games.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball

Can the Chicago Bulls earn a playoff berth without Lonzo Ball?

Find out what some of the biggest experts in NBA think about how well the Chicago Bulls will do this season without starting point guard Lonzo Ball.