Throughout a career that has been filled with unthinkable highs and emotionally crippling lows, Kobe Bryant has not strayed from comments that come off as egotistical.
Bryant is arguably the greatest player of his generation, so in a sense, he's earned the right to avoid taking the modest route when discussing his laundry list of achievements.
Ever since his days as a youth at Lower Merion High School, just outside of Philadelphia, Bryant has acted conceited, whether it be in the form of his words or his actions on the court.
Kobe Bryant is arrogant and smug, and his words reflect that. Bryant is also bold and defiant, but when you break it down, the five-time NBA champion speaks the truth.
As seen in the clip above (via ESPN's E:60), Bryant has always showed a certain flair on the court. That unrelenting haughtiness reflected poorly on his character when he declared, "I, Kobe Bryant, have decided to take my talent...to the NBA."
Those who have proclaimed they're "taking their talents" elsewhere haven't always been received well.
Just ask LeBron James.
Unsurprisingly, that wasn't the last time Bryant would irk those from his hometown, as he showed unfiltered confidence heading into Game 4 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ahead 2-1 in the series, Bryant let loose on a frustrated Philadelphia fan (via John Smallwood of Philly.com):
After Game 3 of the 2001 NBA Finals here at the First Union Center, Bryant was on his way to the interview room when someone suggested he go back to L.A. Bryant's infamous response was, "We're going to cut your hearts out Wednesday."
As we've come to expect, Kobe delivered in style.
He shattered the dreams of Sixers fans, defeating his father's former team 100-86 in Game 4, while capturing his second championship ring after a 108-96 drubbing of Philadelphia in Game 5.
Fast forward nearly a decade, and you'll see that Kobe has not relented in his blunt criticism or comments. Just this past October, Bryant made several remarks regarding the 2005-06 Los Angeles Lakers and their apparent lack of talent.
According to the Orange County Register, Kobe had some pointed words for former teammates Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm:
I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team...I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.
While Kobe was obviously exaggerating, he did average a career high in field-goal attempts in 2005-06, taking 27.2 shots per game while he finished fourth in MVP voting behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki.
Given Bryant's record of lashing out at teammates, it's possible we'll receive some gems from the Black Mamba about the tumultuous 2012-13 Lakers once he's retired.
In addition to trashing his former teammates, Kobe's also adept at bragging about his on-court wizardry while putting down the skills of others.
Just this past summer, when Kobe and his Team USA teammates took to London to compete in the Summer Olympics, he downplayed the skills of New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler in a debate over which player has better post moves.
According to USA Today, this is how the conversation unfolded:
When a news reporter suggested Bryant was the best U.S offensive player in the low post other than center Tyson Chandler, Bryant stopped the question.
"No, no, no," Bryant said. "Not other than Tyson Chandler. I'm the best post player on this team, period. Tyson Chandler is not in that conversation."
The tape doesn't lie.
Kobe possesses the most refined low-post game of any player in the league, as he's perfected a variety of moves that have made his offensive game even more lethal with age.
And finally, we have Kobe Bryant speaking about what he does best: shooting the basketball en route to scoring copious amounts of points.
As many will recall, Grinnell College's Jack Taylor dropped 138 points during a Division III game last November. After Taylor's impressive offensive display, reporters made Kobe aware of the 138-point performance, which promoted this response from the two-time scoring champion (via Dave McMenamin on Sulia):
Would people be celebrating me if I scored 138 points? You know how it is, some people would, some people wouldn't. They can all kiss my a-- as I'm sure he feels the same way. If you score 138 points, you kind of have a license to tell people to f--- off.
If I were to pick one quote that captures the essence of Bryant, this would be it. Kobe doesn't care much for detractors, and although he often comes off as conceited, he tells it like it is.
In a day and age when so many professional athletes feel the need to blanket the truth in a web of lies, Kobe's brutal honesty is refreshing and even a bit comforting.