He called them a top contender for the 2013 NBA championship.
As a five-time NBA champion, it is fair to assume that Bryant knows a contender when he sees one. Playing in the same arena as the Clippers, Bryant also has as close a look as any opponent at LAC.
To offer such high praise equates to a genuine level of respect—respect that is only given to the deserving.
As for what he said, Kobe wasted no time in responding to a question he made seem unnecessary. A Los Angeles Times reporter asked Kobe if he believed the Clippers were a legitimate title contender.
Bryant kept it short and sweet.
"Oh, for sure. For sure. They're definitely one of the top contenders."
When asked what the Lakers were doing better than the Clippers, Kobe said, "interviews."
It's been that kind of season in Los Angeles. You know, the type we've rarely seen before.
The Clippers have finished the regular season with a better record than the Lakers just twice since 1993: '93 and 2006.
They're on pace to do so again in 2012-13. LAC is 25-8, while Kobe's Lakers are just 15-16.
As for Kobe's thoughts of the Clippers, he didn't stop with the previously mentioned comments.
Earlier this season, Magic Johnson compared the 2012-13 Clippers to the famed "Showtime" Lakers (via ESPN). When asked for his opinion, Kobe had just two words.