Kobe Bryant Retiring: Kobe, who scored a season-high 31 points earlier tonight, feels he could beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one matchup. Of course, he means when both legends were in their prime.
“There is an endless debate as to who would win a one-on-one matchup between me and MJ. We can debate that till the cows come home. He would win some. I would win some. But those are debates that have gone on forever,” Bryant said in an interview that aired Wednesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Bryant and Jordan had some fierce duels in the late 1990s and early 200s. While Kobe got the better of his idol when a 40-year-old Jordan returned for a two-year stint with the Washington Wizards, MJ had a younger Bryant’s number when he was still with the Chicago Bulls.
Bryant, set to hang the boots after this season, said it was a privilege to be in team of the all-time greats. “My five biggest muses growing up were MJ, Magic (Johnson), (Larry) Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jerry West. To be mentioned in the same breath as those players, honestly, to me is—I mean, that’s everything.”
Dreamt Of Eight Championships
Bryant, who ends with five championships, acknowledged that he didn’t accomplish all his goals. “No. No. I wanted eight championships, as a dreamy kid, growing up … I wanted eight. Because Magic (Johnson) had five. 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?”
Bryant admitted that the Achilles injury he suffered a few years ago triggered his decline. “It was something that kind of evolved over the last three years, you know, with the Achilles injury, that really frightened me. Because you know, it was like, ‘My career could be over now.’ It scared me. ‘What am I going do next?’ sort of thing. So I took that time to start trying to figure that out.”