Kobe Bryant had another extensive interview (he seems to be doing a lot of these as of late). This time around, he talks to ESPN’s Chris Palmer about a lot of various subjects. He talks Michael Jordan, LeBron James, playing one-on-one, and Tracy McGrady among other things.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Early on you got tired of the MJ comparisons, but a part of you had to be flattered, right?
I appreciated them, but after a while it just got old. They eventually faded away because I was putting together my own identity.
And I can understand that if you’re trying to forge identity, you’d easily get tired of comparisons like that. Of course, it didn’t help that Kobe Bryant imitated a lot of Jordan’s moves and mannerisms on and off the court.
Palmer asked Kobe who would win in a one-on-one game against LeBron James.
You versus LeBron? Who wins?
Me. No question. As far as one-on-one, I’m the best to ever do it.
I’m honestly not so sure about this; LeBron is younger, faster, and stronger. Bron has about two inches and 40 pounds on Bean. But Kobe has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and it’s definitely something I want to see. Can you guys put this for All-Star weekend?
Then Kobe was asked about a past NBA star.
I always wanted to see you play Tracy McGrady.
I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you… We played three games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2.
So there you go. Kobe is known for his legendary work ethic while Tracy McGrady wasn’t exactly known for that. I can believe that.
And, of course, Kobe was asked about Twitter.
You made a glorious arrival to Twitter. Are there any NBA players you might want to follow?
Probably not. I’m not interested in what you had for breakfast. Twitter is great to connect with fans and be transparent.
Kobe is actually great at the tweeting thing. He’s given the fans what they wanted so far and has interacted with some of the Twitterverse. Kobe is actually quite a humorous guy and while it’s a little weird, we’re seeing a human side of him as he gets older and is winding down on his career.
Kobe also talks about Django, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, his legacy, and a ton of other topics. He’s basically become a clone of Phil Jackson, where he just gives out brutal, honest answers and does so in a calm manner. And, of course, Kobe talking about how he’s the best one-on-one player ever is just vintage Kobe; none of that confidence has waned ever since he’s entered the league.
While the Lakers are 17-21, Kobe is having his best offensive season in years. He leads the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game and is having his best shooting season ever at .478. The competitive fire is still there but you can tell by his demeanor (especially in interviews as of late) that he knows the end is near. And he has mentioned about his career nearly being done repeatedly over the past few weeks, including in another extensive interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
Whether you like him or hate him, you have to respect Kobe Bryant for his NBA career. A lot of us have taken him for granted because of the many comparisons to other players. But after his career is over, he will be known as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time.
Now let’s see if he can pull off this latest trick: get the Lakers into the postseason after such a horrid start.