MUST WATCH: Kobe on Michael Jordan: “I call him, he calls me right back, every time.”
Kobe Bryant spoke on the UCSB campus yesterday, on a number of topics, including a
great sad story about Kwame Brown. Well, Got ‘Em reader Imadul Kabir* was there, recorded the videos, and is giving us a first look at Kobe’s other answers.
Above, Kobe is asked about whether there’s any competition with Michael Jordan:
Question: “How important is it to you when you retire to be considered the Best Player Ever? Better than Jordan?”
Kobe’s Answer: “Nah, it’s not important. ‘Cause that’s impossible. Even jordan, people say he’s not the best ever…”
I can’t make out the rest of Kobe’s answer, but he does drop a Bill Russell bomb.
It’s clear Kobe’s lying about not caring. As I’ve detailed before, once Kobe admitted to lying to the press, it’s hard to take take his words at face value. It’s the old saying: When the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back. After saying the opponent didn’t matter, Kobe admitted beating the Celtics in 2010 Finals meant more, in part because of the Lakers loss in ‘08, and in part because of the long rivalry between the two franchises.
Now, when he says playing the Miami Heat is “just another game,” I call BS. When he says he doesn’t want to be considered the best ever, I just simply don’t believe him. That’s what makes Kobe great. He’s consumed with being the best. Please, someone tell me what’s wrong with that? I will teach my future children to do the same (not the children I have from the future, named Zarzax and Zebulon, but the children I may end up having some time down the road with a lady).
The next question, and answer from Bryant, is even better:
Question: “Are you trying to catch his six titles?”
Kobe’s Answer: “Oh, of course. ‘Cause you want to win as many as you can, right? Just by that alone, you’re chasing him. As long as I’m playing I want to continue to win more. Never a direct competition between he and I, because he’s really helped me a lot. He hates when I say it but, I’ll say it anway, I call him, he calls me right back, every time. And we talk about things. That’s the kind of relationship that we have. I wouldn’t sit and have a debate with him about who’s better because I’m directly influenced by him.”
We can skip right over Kobe wanting to win more rings. No surprise there. What’s interesting is Kobe and Michael talk on the phone. What’s SUPER interesting is Kobe pretty obviously wants you to know they talk on the phone.
"Every time" is the phrase that really sticks out. Jordan doesn’t just call Kobe back. He calls back "every time."
Half of that is Kobe name-dropping (which is a byproduct of insecurity and competition), but half of that is Kobe lovingly looking up to Michael Jordan (which we all know, because he’s copied Jordan so often in the past - nothing wrong with that either). It’s sort of gaudy. We get it, you and Mike are friends. It’s also terribly sweet. He wants us to know Mike talks to him because he idolizes MJ just like we all do.
If Jordan and I ever talk on the phone, you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be bragging about it here. (We’d probably talk about root beer, how we both like our tater tots crispy…you know, the stuff champions talk about.)
Kobe goes on to talk about how Jordan’s freakishly large hands were and are a big difference between the two of them, but Phil Jackson hipped us to that years ago.
The only thing you need to remember is, no matter what he ever says, Kobe wants to beat Jordan, because he wants to be the greatest of all time, and that’s a noble goal. We should all strive to be the best we can be at whatever we’re doing.