Kobe on LeBron's Future: "I Don't Give a (Bleep)"

Is it possible that Kobe Bryant, he of the world-stopping sexual assault charges, the much-covered selfishness, and the public persona that sometimes reads as contrived and awkward, is going to be considered not only the NBA's best player after this summer, but also most fans' favorite? His comments about LeBron James' future might help.

Kobe told the New York Post something that will warm many fans' hearts (boldface mine):

⇥"You're asking me if LeBron is going to New York?" Bryant told The Post. "I'm trying to tell you in a polite way, I don't give a [bleep].⇥

⇥"As a fan, it's a big deal," Kobe added. "You're talking about LeBron and Dwyane Wade, it's two huge names changing cities. It alters things drastically in the NBA. But I really don't care about it."⇥

Frankly, he shouldn't. LeBron's team hasn't made the NBA Finals since 2007; Kobe's been there every year since. His Lakers, with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest all locked up around him through the 2012-13 season, will still be perennial title contenders, and perhaps prohibitive favorites, if Bryant can continue to play at a high level. And, oh, he's already got rings.

It's in those differences that Kobe distances himself from LeBron. It's been a slow renaissance to get to this point, but while James' talent and promise haven't been combined for championships, derailing his chances to be the unquestioned NBA king, Kobe has hardened himself into a brutally efficient scorer and leader, taking the traits that made an older Michael Jordan so dominant and making them his own.

I respect LeBron as a basketball player. I still think he's the most talented person on any court in the world. But I have no particular interest in his free agency tour of ego.

And right now, I actually like Kobe. I know I'm not alone in that respect.

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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