Kobe Bryant had the luxury of playing with several excellent basketball players over the course of his 20-year NBA career. While Bryant has the reputation of being this tireless worker with an insane competitive edge who has isolated himself from teammates in the past, he wouldn’t be sitting happily retired with five NBA championships if he didn’t have immensely skilled teammates like Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, to name a few. Nobody can do it alone.
Bryant has been on a bit of a media tour recently, as the Lakers are set to retire his number on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors. In celebration of his career, NBA TV is broadcasting some of his best performances all weekend just in case you forgot how good he was. And in the interest of making money, the Lakers released a bonkers ‘Kobe Collection’ featuring a plethora of different shirts and hats to honor the Black Mamba.
Included on Bryant’s said media tour and hype train heading into Monday night’s jersey retirement was an appearance on the Holding Court podcast with Geno Auriemma. On the podcast, Auriemma asked Bryant a tough question that ultimately amounted to if you could choose one player from NBA history to play with, who would it be? And Kobe’s answer made a ton of sense, even though he didn’t pick Michael Jordan.
“I think the player that would fit with me the most, I actually think would be LeBron,” Bryant said. “He’s a passer first, I’m a scorer, I’m a finisher. ‘Bron is a facilitator by nature and I’m a finisher by nature. Those two styles, I think compliment each other extremely well.”
LeBron James is a perfectly acceptable answer here, but anytime anyone answers a question like this and the first response isn’t Michael Jordan, people are going to raise an eyebrow. Of course, Bryant wasn’t answering a question about who he thought the greatest of all-time was; he was answering a question about who he would like to play with, and considering the similarities between Bryant and Jordan, James feels like the correct choice for precisely the reasons Kobe laid out.