“I’m not a fan of Kobe. I’m not somebody who looks up to him. I’m a grown man myself. So when I go out there and play the game, I play the game.”
While most NBA two guards won’t come out and say it as publicly, I believe they’d agree with Stephen Jackson. Because as any competitor knows, to truly be the best you can’t be afraid of anybody.
Think about an NBA film session. When Ray Allen is watching tape and looking over assignments for the Lakers game, is he thinking, “But Kobe is the MVP.” No. While he certainly understands the task at hand, Ray can appreciate someone else’s skills and talent but isn’t going to be wearing a KB24 jersey when he’s playing pickup.
This summer when I was in Chicago for a photo shoot with O.J. Mayo, I asked him about how Kobe has always been his favorite player, but how things changed once he got to the League.
“He was my favorite, this is until I went up against him,” said Mayo. “I can only appreciate his game now. We’re all fighting for the same thing.”
If you ask me, Mayo couldn’t have said it better. Whether it’s a victory, a playoff berth, a championship or a contract, there’s only 30 starting two guards in the NBA and thousands more that are trying to take their job. So once you’ve made it, it’s every man for himself. (re: Iverson crossing MJ)
“I feel like I’m just as good as him,” says Jackson. “I might not get the publicity or notoriety he gets, but I feel like I can play with anybody in the NBA any given night.”
And while 99 out of 100 people would beg to differ and say that the Mamba would put the player formerly known as Capt. Jack in the hyperbolic chamber of doom, Jackson has a point. He should feel like he’s just as good as him. If I was his teammate, I’d be telling him that before the game, during the game and after the game. Because if you hit the floor with a lack of confidence, a guy like Kobe will eat you alive.
What do you think? If you were a competitor in the NBA, would you be a fan of Kobe?
Source: Oakland Tribune
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