Raja Bell is a player who has drawn the ire of San Antonio Spurs fans. During his time with the Phoenix Suns, Bell had the unenviable job of defending Manu Ginobili when the Suns-Spurs rivalry was at its peak.
The tenacious defender and once member of the Spurs perhaps solidified his name among Spurs fans “enemy list” when he got a bit overzealous defending Ginobili during the 2008 NBA playoffs.
I had a chance to quickly speak with Bell this past June at Steve Nash’s annual Showdown in Chinatown in New York City and here is what he had to say about defending Manu.
Jeff: How was it guarding Manu?
Raja: Tough bro. Manu, he’s got a little soccer flair to his game with the theatrics and stuff but on top of that he is one of the classiest players in the league. He’s tough!
What was your fondest memory from those classic battles?
You know, being in him. You know we didn’t win any of them, it was tough. But being in there knowing you were two of the best teams in the NBA arguably at the time. It was a fun series.
Anyone catch his “theatrics” remark? OK so Manu does have a “slight” tendency to flop but hey, it works.
And as much as Bell might get under the skin of Spurs players and the fans, there was one incident where he took it to another player on Spurs fans “enemy list” – Kobe Bryant. Who can forget that incident?