Now that it is officially the end for Kobe Bryant, we will see and hear sides and thoughts from Kobe that we haven’t heard before. Wednesday, Good Morning America featured the first exclusive interview with Bryant since he’s made it official.
Kobe shared with Robin Roberts that it was through meditation that he realized that this was truly his last season.
“I try to have at least 15 minutes of still time and just kind of sit in my thoughts in the morning and just kind of meditate. And normally what happens with me is my mind would always drift to the game. Always,” he said. “And then I found myself sitting there. My mind wouldn’t drift towards the game all the time anymore. And that’s when I started realizing, ‘You know what? It’s getting close. It’s getting close.’ Because now I’m not obsessively thinking about the game anymore. It’s not wired into my subconscious the way it used to be.”
Phil Jackson is probably extremely proud of the impact he’s had on Kobe’s life. Kobe also revealed that it was a two-year process that started in 2013 with his Achilles injury. The nine months off and the idea that his career could’ve ended at that moment, forced him to start thinking about what’s next.
Recent conversation has been centered around the media and their treatment of Kobe in his final season. Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant – who thinks of Kobe as his generation’s MJ – says the media has been unfair to Bryant. For his part, Kobe doesn’t feel the same.
“You can’t just sit around expecting everybody just to … give praise all the time, right? “ he said. “You’ve got to be able to take the good with the bad.”
Kobe wants the new generation of players to embrace the good and bad, but not let it impact their play.
“The important thing is to not allow any of those things … to affect your play, to affect your psyche. Because it’s irrelevant. You just stay in the moment. And you just be,” he said.
Roberts also asked Kobe to give his top five players of all time. He humbly declined to place himself in the mix, instead naming Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jerry West.
“To be mentioned in the same breath as those players, honestly, to me is…everything,” Bryant said. “I mean, we’ll sit and debate endlessly who was better, who would win in a one-on-one matchup between myself and M.J. And you can debate that until the cows come home….He would win some. I would win some.”
Kobe said as a kid, his goal was to win eight championships.
“Because Magic (Johnson) had five,” Bryant replied. “And then Michael (Jordan) had six. And then I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to win eight.’ And had the opportunity to have seven and didn’t work out. But that was my — that was my childhood dream was to try to win eight (championships)– how ridiculous does that sound?”
Bean won five and participated in seven finals match ups. Closer than most.