Kobe Bryant on his the toughest NBA competitor, favorite young players & more


Thursday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant was center stage. But this time, he wasn’t hitting the hardwood, Vino- that’s his current favorite nickname – sat down for a one-on-one interview with talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel for charity. “Kobe up close” benefited the Laker Superstar’s efforts to eradicate homelessness in Los Angeles via “The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.”

Some of the topics discussed include what college Kobe would’ve attended, who his toughest NBA opponent was and who some of his favorite young NBA stars are. Kobe also revealed that he and Magic Johnson recently developed a close relationship.  Check the highlights:

Will Kobe be ready to suit up Oct. 29th for opening night?

“I don’t know if I’ll be ready for opening night. I really don’t know,” Bryant said. “I know I’m really, really ahead of schedule.”

His thoughts on Dwight Howard’s departure:

“Dwight’s a great kid,” Bryant said. ”It was about the organization. It was about everything they’d done for me throughout my career. It was about me trying to help them out any way I can to set them up for the future, for when I retire. It wasn’t about me.”

Criticism that he only won championships because of Shaq

“It never bothered me that people said, ‘You only won championships because you’re playing with Shaq.’ It bothered me when he said it,” Bryant said. “I had to prove that I could win without him.”

Kobe also talked about his first meeting with Shaq and how cool he thought he was because he had a big cell phone.  He also said that he and Shaq would beat Jordan and Pippen.

Favorite young players:

Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kyrie Irving

Toughest opponent he had to guard:

“the guy that gave me the most problems was Tracy McGrady”

Why he would of went to UNC instead of Duke:

“I want to play against (Vince Carter) every single day.

On late Lakers owner, Jerry Buss:

“He knew exactly what his vision was. He was very understanding and he communicated clearly. For me, he allowed me to grow as a person.”

On the botched CP3 trade:

“Chris called me and told me it was a done deal. Then he calls me back 30 minutes later and says, ‘You won’t believe it. David Stern killed the deal.’”

On Pau Gasol being the subject of trade rumors:

It makes me angry

If he could pick one NBA player to join him on the Lakers today:

Derek Fisher, they came in together and won 5 with each other.

Kobe also said the 2002 championship was his favorite of that three-consecutive-titles-run. That Shaq’s performance in the stretch between 2000-2003 was like nothing anyone has ever seen. And that the Clippers were interested in drafting him but told him that they were trying to turn the image of the franchise around and drafting a 17-year old wouldn’t look good to the city of Los Angeles. only took them 15 more years to complete that transformation.

During the fan Q&A former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens popped up to ask Kobe about his recovery process.


photo via Vanessa Bryant