Kobe Bryant may have retired a few years ago, but the legend for the Los Angeles Lakers is as relevant as ever. Since his retirement, he’s won an Academy Award and he’s frequently been doing his best to help out young players. While he’s done almost everything an athlete can do in a career, there’s one accomplishment that Bryant didn’t hit.
The 18-time NBA All-Star was recently on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Barnes asked Bryant how he felt that he never was able to match Michael Jordan in NBA championships and the former Laker had an admission.
“It pissed me off,” Bryant said without hesitation. “But things are what they are… you push for a goal and my original goal was to try and win eight. And you push for it, and you push for it, and you push for it and you do the best you can. At the end of the day, you can be comfortable with the results and where they landed… That’s why I can be really comfortable with the career that I’ve had because I’ve worked as hard as you possibly could.”
Bryant was very close on a number of occasions to winning more championships and while he did win an impressive five titles, he couldn’t snag a sixth one. He went to seven in his career, so if he could’ve pulled off wins in at least one more of those, he could’ve matched Jordan. Regardless, five NBA championships is nothing to be disappointed about and it seems like Bryant understands that. While Kobe went to more NBA Finals than Jordan did, the Bulls legend never lost when he got there.
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Kobe Believes Lakers Would’ve Won More If It Wasn’t for Spurs
Barnes asked Bryant if the Lakers would’ve won more if Shaquille O’Neal could’ve stayed on the same page. There are myriad reasons why Bryant didn’t win for titles, but he seems to think that the San Antonio Spurs are to blame.
“San Antonio was tough, they were tough,” Bryant said. “When the playoffs came around, it wasn’t like Shaq and I weren’t on the same page… we were always on the same page, we just got beat… The bigger question should be: How many would we have won if the Spurs weren’t the Spurs?”
Since Kobe entered the NBA, the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs by the Spurs on three separate occasions. Two of those times came when Shaq was on the team.
“If they weren’t in the picture, we probably would’ve won 10 in a row,” Bryant said.
Just like Kobe, Spurs legend Tim Duncan finished his career as a five-time NBA champion. It would be very interesting to see how the Lakers would’ve ended up if it wasn’t for those formidable Spurs teams. It’s rare that two dynasties play alongside each other for so many years, but that was the case with Kobe’s Lakers and Duncan’s Spurs.