For Kobe Bryant, the name of the game is championships

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 12, 2018 06:13 PM
For Kobe Bryant, the name of the game is championships
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant address the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony on December 18, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Kobe Bryant doesn't think fans have taken "ringsssss" culture too far.

The former LA Laker, who has a shirt in snakeprint font with exactly that word (five s's for five championships, naturally), said it's "fair" to discuss players in terms of the rings they've won, during a global media call for his new ESPN+ show "Detail."

"I think it's situational," said Bryant. "Obviously, you have individual players who have been phenomenal, have had amazing careers, but haven't won a championship, right? I think we all know that. "But the name of the game is to win championships, right? It's different in most other team sports where an individual can really inspire, challenge, lead, make big plays, get big stops, to be able to lead a team to victory. You can't do it alone, you have to have great teammates, whether it's Magic and Kareem, James Worthy, or Pippen, or Shaquille, whatever the case may be.

"Individually you have great players who haven't had the great fortune of winning championships, but by and large I don't think it's unfair to put that pressure on winning championships because that is the name of the game, to win championships."

Bryant is coming off an Oscar for "Best Animated Short Film" for his adaptation of "Dear Basketball," and for the Black Mamba, the win gave him some extra credibility, as he gets into his post-hoops life.

"I think the important thing for me is to establish myself within this industry as a serious creator," he said. "I mean, I can write. I can edit. I can produce. I can do those things at a serious level. It's not something that's kind of a one-time passion sort of thing. It's just something that we do every single day.

"It wasn't something that I just attached my name to as an executive producer, which most people tend to do. This is something I gave birth do. This is something I actually wrote. This is something that I went out and called Glen [director Glen Keane] and got Glen onboard, called John [musician John Williams], got John or board, worked with that vision."

Bryant is so locked in on his Kobe Inc. projects, that he doesn't actually miss basketball that much, contrasting himself with Michael Jordan, whom he is often compared to. "I don't have a hard time watching [NBA games] at all. This is where me and Michael [Jordan] differ a lot," he said. "Where I was going through the process of retirement, I think people were kind of assuming Michael and I behave the same way from a competitive standpoint. We're both ridiculously competitive, but it's different to a point, right? "I have this other thing that is calling me that I enjoy doing. I'm completely focused on that. I can watch a game, feel nothing at all. There's no angst, there's no, Man, I want to get back out there. There's literally zero of that."

Though he hesitated to participate in what he calls, "the business of clairvoyance-y," Bryant declared the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors as his two favorites to win the NBA championship, ahead of this postseason.

"Obviously, a lot of it depends on the health of Golden State. Houston have put themselves in prime position with their length, versatility, their speed, their aggressiveness. They're a very aggressive team. It's a more aggressive team than D'Antoni has had. Phoenix, they play with a lot of speed, but none of those guys are naturally physical. Houston has some real physical players, man. I like where they're at."

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