Kobe and ____: Can You Complete These Iconic NBA Duos?

SPORTS

Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Keith Allison

About This Quiz

In this day and age, it's assumed an NBA team needs a "Big Three" or "Four" to win a championship, but there was a time when all that was needed was a dynamic duo. Ideally, that meant one person to pass and one person to shoot. In the NBA's earliest days, that's exactly how it worked. There are still some traditionalists dribbling around the modern hardwood, but the game has revolutionized so much.

Now it's not unusual for a dynamic duo to consist of two point guards, or even two seven-footers. Anything can happen. Today's dynamic duos are more dynamic than electrons. There are no rules and nobody knows what to expect, but we do know they will be electrifying to watch. Throughout history, NBA fans have tuned in to see superstar pairings. The game's most exciting plays, like the alley-oop for example, require two players, and the better the players, the more exciting the play. Fans don't want to see superstars playing alone. Fans want to see superstars playing with other superstars and doing superstar things.

Thankfully, we've been blessed over and over since the NBA's inception. Whatever style of play you enjoy watching, there's an NBA duo that has tried it. Take a look at these questions and see if you can complete the iconic NBA duo.

Kobe and ________ made up this West Coast duo that won three championships from 2000 - 2002. Do you know him?

Kobe and Shaq were acquired by the Lakers around the same time, and Shaq's main concern was he'd be stuck babysitting Kobe, who had just come out of high school. That was 1996. By the new millennium, they were a dynasty, but they didn't get along for long and Shaq was eventually traded.

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The Showtime Lakers were led by Magic and ________. Can you name the legendary center?

Coach Pat Riley actually trademarked the term "three-peat" when it looked like the Showtime team was going to do so in the late '80s, but they didn't. They got swept by the Detroit Pistons. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won five rings together in the '80s.

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Stockton racked up thousand of assists to ________, but never won a ring. Who is it?

John Stockton is one of the best point guards in NBA history and has about 3,000 more assists than anybody who has ever played the game. Karl Malone (aka The Mailman) is one of the best forwards in NBA history, but the duo was never able to win a championship.

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Jordan and ________ might be the greatest duo of all time. Who helped Jordan win six championships?

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, coached by Phil Jackson, three-peated twice during the 1990s and may have won more if Jordan hadn't left to play baseball. Few duos in NBA history can be considered as successful as them.

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Who are the Splash Brothers?

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are two of the best three-point shooters the NBA has ever seen, and they both play on the same team, making the greatest back-court duo of all time. Only a couple of players in history have had more three-point success than Steph Curry.

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Do you remember when the Orlando Magic were led by ________ and Shaq?

Before Shaq ventured out west, he was dominating the Eastern Conference on the Orlando Magic. Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and Shaq are the only ones to beat Michael Jordan in his prime in the post-season. Jordan, to his credit, had just come back from baseball and had only played a few weeks of pro ball.

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Can you name this duo who played on the Seattle SuperSonics?

Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were defensive masterminds. Payton's nickname was "The Glove' because of how he stuck to players on defense, and Kemp was a Defensive Player of the Year winner. They made up one of the NBA's best defensive teams and made it to the NBA finals, where they lost to Jordan and Pippen.

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Did you know that ________ and Russell are one of the winningest duos in NBA history?

From 1959 to 1963, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy won six NBA championships. Cousy then retired, but Russell continued on and won another seven rings. Only Jordan and Pippen have as many rings as the duo, but nobody has as many as Russell.

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What NBA champion helped LeBron win his first championship?

LeBron's decision to take his talents to South Beach was one of the most shocking in the sports world, and when he arrived, he took a back seat to Dwyane Wade, saying it was his team. Wade had already won a championship with Shaq years earlier, so it was his team.

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Can you name this duo who won five championships for the San Antonio Spurs?

The Spurs have had a host of All-Star players over the past couple decades, but two of the players who were there for all five championships were Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. They made up part of the team's "Big 3," which included Manu Ginobli.

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Can you believe Chamberlain and ________ only won one championship together?

Jerry West, the inspiration for the NBA logo and nicknamed "Mr. Clutch," teamed up with Wilt Chamberlain, the guy with the most NBA records in history, in 1972 to win the NBA championship. It was West's first and only ring, and Chamberlain's second.

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Do you know these legends who brought two NBA championships to New York City?

Frazier and Reed are responsible for winning the only two championships in Knicks history, and the most memorable was the team's 1970 victory. Willis Reed hobbled onto the court in Game 7 with an injured leg and hit a couple jump shots, giving the team just enough motivation to win.

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Clyde Drexler and ________ won back-to-back championships when Michael Jordan retired.

When Michael Jordan first retired to play baseball, it opened up hopes for everyone who couldn't beat him for the past several years. Drexler and Olajuwon were able to take advantage of the situation and win two championships for the Houston Rockets.

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Do you know these NBA MVPs who were teammates once upon a time?

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were both drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the duo played together for several years. They made it to the finals in 2012, but lost to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in five games.

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Do you know these NBA MVPs who were teammates once upon a time and are teammates again in 2019?

It's unbelievable to think that former MVPs Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook all played together, but they did. Westbrook and Harden didn't last long, but they are teaming up again, this time on the Houston Rockets, for the 2019-2020 NBA season.

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The Celtics won three championships under Bird and ________. Do you know the duo?

The Boston Celtics won three out of five championship appearances in the 1980s, and it couldn't have happened without an integral supporting cast that included legends like Bill Walton, but Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were the cornerstones of the team.

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Can you name this legendary duo who swept the Showtime Lakers in 1983?

Julius Erving (aka Dr. J) and Moses Malone played for the 76ers together for a handful of years in the '80s. The duo was able to win a championship in 1983 when they swept the Los Angeles Lakers. Dr. J was one of the first NBA superstars and revolutionized the game.

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Do you know these NBA "bad boys" known for epic showdowns against Michael Jordan?

Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars were notorious for employing "bad boy" tactics against Michael Jordan during the playoffs. Essentially, they orchestrated to hack him every time he had the ball. It worked one time in the '90s and never again.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a championship with what legend known for averaging a triple double for an entire season?

Back in 1971, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led the Milwaukee Bucks to the team's first NBA championship. It was the same year Abdul-Jabbar changed his name from Lew Alcindor. The duo went back to the finals in '74, but lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

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Who are these West Coast All-Stars who never won an NBA championship?

Steve Nash won back-to-back NBA MVP awards and Amar'e Stoudemire was at the top of his game when the Suns made multiple runs for the NBA championship. They were never able to get past the Lakers or Spurs in some controversial defeats.

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Can you name this duo that beat the greatest team in NBA history to win a championship for the city of Cleveland?

The 2016 Golden State Warriors were able to win 73 regular-season games, making them the best team in history, but they weren't able to win the championship. Kyrie and LeBron were able to bring the Cavs back from being down 1-3 in the finals to win the city's first NBA championship.

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Do you know the shortest player in NBA history and his teammate Grandmama?

At just 5'3'' Bogues gets the distinction of shortest player in history, and his Charlotte Hornets teammate, Larry Johnson, was famously nicknamed Grandmama. The two never won a championship, but were huge fan favorites, even appearing in the hit film "Space Jam."

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Durant and ________ won two championships together. Can you name this legend?

The Golden State Warriors are a deep squad, so it's difficult to distinguish a dynamic duo, but Durant and Curry are the only two NBA MVPs on the team, so they get the distinction. They won two championships before Durant departed for Brooklyn.

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Do you know these two All-Stars who led the Celtics to their first championship in decades?

Paul Pierce spent most of his career with the Celtics, but Kevin Garnett was a new addition. Along with Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, they made up a "big four" and went on to win the championship in 2008. Pierce and Garnett were the cornerstones of the team.

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Can you remember when Iverson and ________ made it to the NBA Finals?

At just 6 feet tall, Allen Iverson took a beating every time down the court, but somehow he was able to lead the 76ers, alongside Dikembe Mutombo, to the NBA Finals in 2001. They lost to the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers, but not before taking one game.

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Do you know these Atlanta Hawk high-flyers known for their dunking ability?

Dominique Wilkins (aka The Human Highlight Reel) was known for his powerful dunks and Spud Webb, at just 5'7'', was known for his high-flying abilities. Both players won the NBA dunk contest and Wilkins and Webb actually won back-to-back contests in '85 and '86.

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Johnson and ________ were never able to beat Jordan and Pippen for a ring. Who is this legend?

Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson made one trip to the NBA finals in 1993, but they lost in six games to the Chicago Bulls. Barkley won the regular-season MVP award that year but was never able to win a championship in his career.

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Havlicek and ________ were able to win two championships after the Russell era and before the Bird era. Do you know the duo?

Bill Russell and Bob Cousy won six championships together, and as Cousy left, John Havlicek joined the team. Havlicek, Russell and others went on to win multiple championships, but that was Russell's team. In the '70s, Havlicek and Dave Cowens were able to win two championships before the Bird era.

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Damian Lilliard and ________ make up one of the NBA's best back-courts. Can you name this loyal Portland star?

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum make up one of the most underrated and best back-courts in the NBA today. They haven't been able to get over the hump of beating the Warriors, but the Western Conference landscape is greatly changing.

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Alonzo Mourning paired up with this NBA legend, known for having one of the best crossovers in history. Who is it?

Allen Iverson and Tim Hardaway are universally known for having the best crossover moves in NBA history. Hardaway teamed up with Alonzo Mourning on the Miami Heat in the mid-'90s and the two played together for several years.

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Can you believe West and ________ never won an NBA championship together?

Jerry West and Elgin Baylor are two of the NBA's greatest players, and although they made seven finals appearances, they never won a championship. They lost to the Boston Celtics six times and the New York Knicks once.

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George Mikan and ________ made up the league's first dynamic duo. Can you name him?

George Mikan is recognized as the NBA's first superstar, and he won five championships for the Minneapolis Lakers back in the NBA's early years. His partner in crime was All-Star Jim Pollard, making them the league's first dynamic duo.

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Do you know this dynamic duo responsible for putting D.C. basketball on the map?

Barely anyone paid attention to Washington, D.C. basketball until Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes brought the Bullets to the finals in 1975. They lost, but they led the team to three more championships, eventually winning in 1978.

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Do you know this New York duo, Ewing and ________, who were never able to win a championship?

John Starks and Patrick Ewing were amazing Knicks players and were supposed to bring glory to the franchise, but they kept running into other dynamic duos like Penny and Shaq and Jordan and Pippen. Only three duos won championships in the '90s. Starks and Ewing weren't one of them.

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Can you name this duo responsible for the only championship in Hawks history?

Believe it or not, the Hawks have a championship under their belt. From 1957 - 1961, Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan led the franchise, then called the St. Louis Hawks, to four championship appearances, winning one in 1958.

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John Wall plays with ________ down in Washington, D.C. Can you name the duo?

John Wall and Bradley Beal make up a formidable back-court in the NBA's Eastern Conference, but they have quite a way to go if they want to reach legendary status. They haven't had much post-season success, but are still one of the league's best duos.

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Do you know these "Twin Towers" who bested Kobe and Shaq in the 1999 finals?

Tim Duncan has had a slew of supporting members during his championship runs, but one of the most iconic was the 1999 Spurs team when he teamed up with David Robinson to win the championship. Robinson is the last player in history to record a quadruple-double in an NBA game.

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Can you believe that Barkley and ________ weren't able to win a championship together?

From 1996 to 2000, Charles Barkley joined forces with Hakeem Olajuwon on the Houston Rockets in a bid for the championship. The team made it to the Western Conference Finals, but no further, and both legends eventually called it quits in the early 2000s.

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Who are these people who shocked the world by beating LeBron and Wade in 2011?

Dirk Nowitzki is one of just two players to play at least 20 NBA seasons with the same team, the other being Kobe Bryant. In 2011, Nowitzki and Terry led the Mavericks to an improbable 4-2 upset over the Miami Heat to win the championship.

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Shaq left Kobe in LA and joined what hall-of-famer in Miami?

Shaquille O'Neal went to the Miami Heat after he left Los Angeles and he and Wade won a championship in 2006. He was able to win a championship before Kobe won another one, which helped add fuel to their feud.

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