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Old 03-15-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Kobe Bryant on Michael Jordan, LeBron, winning championships, etc

"It's a tough call with me because everybody wants to make the comparison between me and Michael, but our paths were just different," he says. "You almost have to evaluate our careers from two different lenses. Ultimately, I want to be known as a person who was just hell-bent on winning. If people say that about me, I'll be happy."

It's interesting Horford would call Bryant the best player in the NBA. Hasn't he been kicked out of that conversation by James, who has been anointed in the media as the reigning hoops god? Does it annoy Kobe that recent conversations have compared Jordan and LeBron while, somehow, omitting him? "I think it's a numbers thing," he says. "They look at the individual numbers Michael put up and those LeBron is putting up. My numbers are great, but I played with Shaq. So those numbers have to be looked at from that perspective. They didn't have to play with a 7-foot-1, 350-pound dominant force.

"My motivation is to win every year. When I was growing up and Magic had five and Michael was getting his [six], I decided this is what I'm supposed to do: win as many as I possibly can. [Bill] Russell had 11, so this is what it is. It does bother me that during your career, everyone says, 'Win championships.' Now, at the end of your career, they want to look at [individual] numbers. That drives me crazy a little."

Would he want to coach? "Uhhhhhh," he says, meaning no.

How about owning a team? "Only if it's in a big market," he says with a nervous laugh, knowing Jordan's chronically failing team is in Charlotte, a small market. L.A. is a big market. How about owning a piece of the Lakers? Like the idea?

"Of course, I would," he says. "Honestly, this franchise is part of me. I've been very lucky that I followed this team religiously [while growing up] and I've just happened to play for this team my whole career. I would love [ownership]. If I could be part of this organization forever, it would be very special."

Neither Jim nor Jeanie was available for comment.

"I didn't just give them advice. I sort of made demands,'' says Bryant, laughing as he recalls that version of himself. "To me, it's about one thing only -- winning. You can have all the talent in the world, but if the organization isn't making the smartest decisions, you're not going to win. Dominique Wilkins had a great career, but he never got to that [championship] level. I didn't want to be that for the second half of my career. [Management] made a conscious call to cut costs then and kind of ride their goose with the golden eggs, and I wasn't OK with that. I said, 'Hey, look, you guys have got to do something.' ''

If Kobe had never played with Shaq, would his numbers/stat line be similar to MJ and LeBron like he is alluding to?
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