If he could choose any current player that he’d like to play a season with, who would it be, Bird was asked.
“Well, probably Kobe, because of the fact that … well, of course he wouldn’t have been shooting as much as he does now … but his desire to win, his dedication, to always get better, uh, and he’s just, he’s just tough,” Bird said. “He’s just a tough cat.
“But, if you want to have fun, like I did with Bill Walton, play with LeBron. It would have probably been more fun to play with LeBron, but if you want to win and win and win, it’s Kobe. Not that LeBron’s not a winner, just that [Kobe's] mindset is to go into every practice, every game, to get better.”
Bryant has won five championships with the Lakers, one short of the legend he’s most often compared to, Michael Jordan. James joined the Miami Heat last season and fell short in the NBA Finals, leaving him searching for his first title.
The interview took place before Bryant passed former teammate Shaquille O’Neal and moved into fifth place on the NBA’s career scoring list on Monday night according to ESPN.
The 33-year-old Bryant, the NBA’s leading scorer with 29.4 points, has 28,601 career points.
Bird, who is president of basketball operations for the Pacers, won three titles, one of them over the Lakers. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1998.
Is any one surprised?