By Suave Francisco
Kobe Bean Bryant may be the most lethal scorer the NBA has seen, and one of the most underrated defensive players of all-time as well. Many people don't know or don't pay attention to how lethal he's been with just his words. As a matter of fact, some of his quotes are just as lethal as his game, in both positive and negative ways. He tells us how it is, though, he doesn't sugar coat a thing and that's what many love about him. The only other player that can compare to him in that way is our own Russell Westbrook.
Kobe's quotes during the last 20 years covered pretty much every aspect of the game, aimed towards players, coaches, and the game of basketball in general. With the help of Fox Sports' own Dan Carson narrowing Bryant's hundreds of thousands of quotes down to his favorite 20, I'm going to narrow that down to my favorite 10.
10. "Hi, I'm Kobe Bryant. And I have decided to take my talent to, uh... I have decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA."
The next 20 years following that quote would never be the same.
9. "Because I don't want chumps, I don't want pushovers, and if you're a chump and a pushover, I will run over you."
This question was motivated by Jeremy Lin's play during his short tenure with the Lakers. Kobe later did explain why he was so hard on Lin, who now is the starting point guard for the playoff-bound Charlotte Hornets.
8. "I just got one more than Shaq. You can take that to the bank ... You guys know how I am. I don't forget anything."
If you've followed Kobe's career, you know there's been a long lasting love/hate relationship with his former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. After Bryant won his fifth ring, you almost knew this quote was coming.
7. "I close my eyes and just reminisce. That's what keeps me sane."
With everything that's gone wrong in this organization during his last season, that is all that Kobe can do, reminisce on all the great times he had as a Los Angeles Laker...because there's nothing good coming out of this season but young players getting experience.
6. "If I wanted to play, I'd still be playing for the Lakers. The health thing I could've figured out...I just don't want to play anymore."
This shows that if Kobe really wanted to play another year, he would. Despite him having a hard time walking, his heart and drive say that he could continue playing.
5. "I would like to be traded, yeah."
This may have been the darkest moment in Kobe's tenure with the Lakers. In 2007, a leak from somewhere within the organization said that he was the reason O'Neal left the Lakers. Luckily, things worked out and he won two more titles with the franchise.
4. "I would go 0-for-30 before I would go 0-for-9. 0-for-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game. ... The only reason is because you've just now lost confidence in yourself."
In a weird, unorthodox way, this quote makes perfect sense. There may not be another player in NBA history that would rather go 0-of-30 instead of 0-of-9 though. That's what makes Kobe, Kobe.
3. "Losing is losing, there aren't different degrees of losing. You either win a championship or you're s---. It's very black and white to me."
This speaks volumes to his mindset every time he starts a season, and steps into an arena. It's win, or bust for him and looking back at his career, you'll see that he isn't satisfied with a season unless a championship is won.
2. "No s---, Sherlock. What are you going to win with a bunch of scrubs?"
This has been a personal argument of mine for years now, and seemingly the only person that understands my side is Kobe. I don't know of any championship team that won solely on one players shoulders. There's always a star core of a team, with an elite supporting cast. It takes great coaching and a talented team to win any type of championship in a professional sport.
1."Friends can come and go, but banners hang forever."
That quote alone symbolized Kobe's whole career. People have come into his life and out of his life, in both positive and negative ways, but one thing he's always been able to fall back on is the five championship banners hanging up in the Staples Center and the rings on his hand.
I'm going to throw an extra one in there just because.
"Leaders don't beg for a contract extension and negotiate some 30 million (dollars) plus per year deal in the media when we have two future Hall of Famers playing here pretty much for free. A leader would not demand the ball every time down the floor when you have the three of us (Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Bryant) playing beside you, not to mention the teammates you have gone to war with for years -- and, by the way, then threaten not to play defense and rebound if you don't get the ball every time down the floor."
His loyalty has never been questioned. Of course, just like any relationship, there's going to be rough patches but Kobe always came back to Los Angeles, no matter what the situation was or how much money was thrown his way. That's something that seems extinct in today's game.
Kobe has been a role model to me in numerous ways, as well as millions of other kids in the world. Shoot, even some adults. He's changed the game of basketball for the better and carried his fan base through some amazingly wild rides these past two decades. He's a player that will be forever great and forever missed. Kobe's last NBA game will be on Wednesday night, at home against the Utah Jazz who are in a dogfight for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.