There is a ton of mutual respect between Kobe Bryant and long-standing members of the San Antonio Spurs -– both Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan have recently expressed how happy they are to see Kobe back on the court.

The last time the Los Angeles Lakers saw the Spurs in the Playoffs (2012), it ended in a humiliating sweep for San Antonio.

Bryant, despite leading one of the NBA’s worst teams, yearns for one final postseason battle against the defending champs.

Per USA Today:

“I would love to get another crack at them in a playoff series,” Bryant, who leads the NBA in scoring at 27.5 points per game, said this week. “I would love that. Some of my finest memories are against them.”

 

“It’s a different market, man,” Bryant said. “San Antonio’s not doing $2 billion TV deals – or $5 billion – so it’s a different market. Even with my deal, you have a significant amount of cap space available. But I think the advantage that they’ve had, and that (Duncan) has had and been very fortunate with, is they’ve had the same guys since he’s been there. That really helps. […] You’ve got Manu (Ginobili) there. You’ve got Tony (Parker) there. Those guys have been through the ups and downs and they have that familiarity, and then they build with pieces around that. The same coach. The same system. Here, I’ve had to go through so many different coaches, so many different systems, it’s crazy. But I love watching (Duncan). What they’ve been able to do is something else.”

 

“I think he’s unbelievable,” Bryant said of Duncan. “There’s not too many of us left from that era. I just think what he has done and what the organization has done has been absolutely remarkable. Remarkable.”