KOBE Bryant may be retired but his legendary competitive fire remains burning.
Bryant, who bid farewell to the NBA after 20 seasons with the Lakers, spoke in The Jim Rome Show on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) about his life after retirement. The five-time champion also sounded off on the offseason moves that significantly changed the landscape of the league he left, particularly the latest superteam in Golden State with new addition Kevin Durant.
The Lakers legend had no qualms about Durant’s decision to bolt from Oklahoma City to join the Warriors team led by back-to-back MVP Steph Curry along with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green that went to two straight NBA Finals trips, winning a title in 2015 before losing to the Cavs this year.
“Happy for him,” said Bryant on Durant’s move.
However, the feisty ‘Black Mamba’ emerged once he was asked how he’d react if he was still in the league facing the retooled Warriors.
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, 'That's unfair,'" said Bryant.
"If you're a real competitor, you look at that and say, 'OK, lace 'em up. Let's go. I don't care how many players you have over there; we're still going to take you down,'" he added.
One player who Bryant says has that ‘real competitor’ mentality as him is, ironically, Durant’s former teammate in OKC, Russell Westbrook.
"When I turn on the TV and watch players play, the player who plays with the same kind of emotion and grit and competitive intensity is Russell," he said.
"He's going hard, doesn't matter who's playing against, doesn't matter what the odds are. ... He's going 110 percent every single time," added Bryant.
Yet even without Bryant’s stamp of approval, there’s no doubt Westbrook already has the date with the Warriors marked on his calendar, or any other foe for that matter, entering the court with the Mamba mentality.