Video: Kobe Bryant on GOAT debate vs. Michael Jordan: ‘I really don’t care’
Kobe Bryant spoke about the lone question that has dominated his narrative for most of his basketball career and even after his retirement — who is really the GOAT, Kobe or Michael Jordan? The five-time champion spoke with Mike Greenberg of ESPN in an exclusive interview, revealing his true feelings on the issue.
“It’s hard for people to believe, but I really don’t care,” said Bryant with a smile. “I’ve moved on. You have a career, you do the best you can for the 20 years I was fortunate to play and then you shelf it. You’re done. You move on to the next thing. Now I’m focused on these next 20 years.
“Those debates are entertaining, I’m sure it’s fun for people to engage on those, but for me personally, it doesn’t matter.”
"I really don't care."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 22, 2019
Bryant admitted to hearing the noise that surrounds him and Jordan and squaring him up against LeBron James, but he wisely put the issue to bed, just like Jordan once did in a post-Hall-of-Fame interview with Michael Wilbon in 2009.
“The best way to explain it is I typically do not engage in things that I cannot definitively win,” said Bryant.
Much like Jordan said 10 years ago, the generational gap, the change of the rules, the propensity and prowess of the three-point shot, among many other factors make this a tough comparison to make. The game today is more athletic and physically-taxing than it ever was before, while players were much more fundamentally sound coming into the league back in the day. Those are only a few of the myriad of components that make a Bryant vs. Jordan or James vs. Bryant debate so tough to “definitively” assess.
Despite crossing eras throughout their careers, their arcs have changed along with the league, making it near impossible to make a surefire even debate for the title of greatest of all-time.