Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant Doesn't Feel the Need to Catch Up to Michael Jordan

ATLANTA - FEBRUARY 9:  Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards) #23 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars talks with Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) #8 of the Western Conference All-Stars at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game on February 9, 2003 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images license agreement. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Natalie SaarContributor IIIApril 25, 2012

It’s a common debate among people who follow the NBA: Who is the greatest of all time. Most will say Michael Jordan. Some crown Kobe Bryant even though he still has years to play. But what does Kobe think of this debate?

His most recent interview with Max and Marcellus on 710 ESPN was revealing, to say the least. Max Kellerman is one of the great interviewers in the media because he asks what people want to know without shying away. Marcellus Wiley is a former athlete, so he knows many of the interviewees on a personal basis, making them a great tag-team for interviews.

So of course, the question came up: How does Kobe feel about people saying he’s chasing Jordan?

Kobe gave a pretty diplomatic answer, but it still seemed extremely sincere. Kobe said that he doesn’t see it as a competition with Jordan, but rather that he owes a lot to him. He’s learned from Jordan and respects him for that. Kobe sees Jordan as more of a teacher to him than a goal to surpass. He has “admiration” and “respect” for what he learned from him.

When asked if he’s as competitive as Jordan, he said no. While both men appear to be killers on the court, there’s a big difference. Kobe said that if Jordan doesn’t know how to do something, like play ping pong, he’ll learn so he can be the best. Kobe, however, knows what he’s good at and chooses to keep his focus on basketball.

In terms of what drives him, it is not Jordan. He’s got too much admiration for him. Kobe Bryant is driven by the here and now. He’s driven by what people are saying about him, and being the best in the league right now. The fact that people say he can’t do things at his age, and that he can’t run with the young kids, is what keeps him going. He finds the media amusing and something to laugh about, but in truth, it seems that this is partially what drives him.

Kobe’s also a realist. He said that who the GOAT is depends on who you ask. He also said that old-timers will say it was Bill Russel and Wilt Chamberlain. Being the best of all time in the eyes of others is not what’s important to Kobe. What is important to the Black Mamba is showing everyone that he is still great, no matter his age.

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