In an interview with Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report, Kobe Byrant sounds like King Solomon, dishing out wisdom born of hard won experience. He’s been in the NBA for 19 seasons, coming to Los Angeles as a 17-year-old kid hungry–make that starving–for success. With athletic ability matched by few in history, a great basketball mind, and a dedication to his craft that is second to none, Kobe Bryant has earned his accolades. Sometime this week he’ll pass Michael Jordan for third on the all-time NBA scoring list. Bryant waxes poetic about the days of Stockton, Drexler, Olajuwon and Barkley. But the man he took the most from–though not all, he’s careful to point out–is Jordan, and he likes when he’s compared to Michael. That’s “rare air,” Kobe concedes. Jordan “just kept attacking, attacking, attacking—and attacking in different ways.” Like Bryant does.
“I enjoy what I do so much,” he told Ding. “I enjoy the preparation of it. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out a new puzzle. I take a lot of pride in that, in having the challenge to work through year after year after year with different teams and different teammates and different coaching staffs, trying to work through all that stuff. I feel very fortunate.” We should enjoy Kobe Bryant now especially as he nears the inevitable–though it still seems far off–end of his career. Among the best basketball players who ever lived, Bryant is a lesson for all in one respect: he has never stopped loving what he’s doing. And never stopped learning, listening, and then attacking. Jordan, he said, shared a lot with him. They had a “connection.” After Bryant’s most recent attack, the connection will flip–with Bryant at #3 on the list, Jordan at #4.