Bryant went 4-3 against Popovich and the Spurs in playoff series.
“Kobe is one of those guys that every coach in the world says, ‘That would have been great to have an opportunity to coach that guy.’ That’s the best thing I can say about him. It says everything,” Popovich said. “[He’s] one of the greatest players of all time. It’s not just his talent or his physical skills.
“His mind was on a par with Michael [Jordan] and Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson], guys like that. They thought the game. They knew what was going on. And then on top of that, he had a really phenomenal competitiveness. So it’s not just the talent. It’s the mind and the grit, the guts, the who he is and the way he wanted to compete night after night, which is what made him Kobe Bryant.”