Kobe Bryant Is Beautifully Braggadocious in ESPN Interview, Once 'Cooked' T-Mac

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 17, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles during a 104-88 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on January 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant delivers an interview filled with all the little quotes you would expect from the Black Mamba, but it hardly takes away from the entertainment value of the chat. 

ESPN the Magazine (h/t Deadspin) interviewed the Lakers' star guard recently and asked him a bunch of questions that would have warranted dull answers from any other NBA star. 

But not Kobe. 

What follows is the best section of the interview. We definitely encourage you to go back and dive into the entire article, but these quotes should suffice for now. 

Who would you most like to play one-on-one, either active or retired?
Jordan. No question. 

What would happen?
I’m not sure, but he would win some and I would win some in a seven-game series. It would probably come down to the last few shots. 

You versus LeBron? Who wins?
Me. No question. As far as one-on-one, I’m the best to ever do it. 

Damn. That’s pretty confident.
LeBron is a terrific all-around, five-on-five basketball player who’s an all-time great. But I’d get him. 

Who could get you?
Kevin Durant is the guy that would give me the most trouble. With his length and ability to use the dribble, he’d be tough. 

I always wanted to see you play Tracy McGrady.
I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you. When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promotional stuff for that other sneaker company and we played basketball every day. We were in the gym all the time. We played three games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2. After the third game he said he had back spasms and couldn’t play anymore. 

His back bothered him for most of his career.
Well, now you know. 

What about Kyrie Irving?
[Huge smile, laugh.] Kyrie’s my boy, but he knows he doesn’t have anything for me. He doesn’t want to see me. But it would be fun. I’ve beaten a lot of guys one-on-one, like Reggie Miller and Grant Hill. I used to play Caron Butler all the time in practice when he was with the Lakers. When I was a rookie I used to get Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones. They know. They’ll tell you. They used to come at me hard but I wasn’t having that. I love going one-on-one with someone. That’s what I do. I’ve never lost. It’s a whole different game, just to have them right in front of you and be able to do whatever you want. 

Somebody needs to get over to China where T-Mac plays for the Qingdao Eagles and ask him if he was indeed "cooked" by the Mamba. 

We can also go ahead and start the rumor that playing Bryant one-on-one comes with the downside of playing the rest of your days with a bum back. 

As for his other claims, I love them. 

While the Lakers toil in misery, forced to applaud themselves for a 2-game winning streak, Bryant is having one of the best years of his career, at the age of 34. 

He is averaging nearly 30 points a game and shooting 47.8% from the field, his highest of his career. He also has a great new Nike commercial asserting this is Mamba's world. 

If that weren't enough, he recently slammed James after the King offered the Heat had it harder two years ago when they struggled. 

Bryant answered back in a very Kobe manner, via Arash Markazi's tweet.

Kobe on LeBron saying the Heat had it harder 2 seasons ago: "What does it matter? What does he want, a cookie for that?"

— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 16, 2013

Bryant may be near the end of his career, but he doesn't show any signs of slowing down. On the court and off, he can still talk and play a tremendous game. 

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