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.
"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.