Kobe Bryant's Most Infamous Quotes
Kobe Bryant is one of the NBA's greatest media stars, and he has racked up some great quotes over the years to prove it.
Unafraid to say what’s on his mind at any given time—whether it’s funny, critical or simply outrageous—Bryant never ceases to entertain.
The controversies throughout his career have provided the backdrops for notable one- (or two-, or three-) liners—his feud with Shaquille O’Neal or responses to consistent criticism, to name a couple.
These certainly aren't all of the Mamba's great quotes, but they represent a few gems, old and new.
Nick Young and Iggy Azalea
At Los Angeles Lakers media day prior to the 2014 season, Kobe made headlines with his response to the question, “Iggy Azalea or Swaggy P?” Swaggy P being his teammate, Nick Young, and Iggy Azalea being Young’s girlfriend.
Kobe said, via Yahoo Sports, “Iggy. She's been more successful in her career so far.”
He said it with a chuckle, but even so, blasting your teammate on media day is always going to blow up the Internet.
In case you aren’t aware, Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t exactly get along when they were both with the Lakers.
O’Neal was traded in 2004, but 10 years later, Kobe reflected back on that time. In a March 2014 interview with Ben McGrath of The New Yorker, Bryant criticized Shaq’s work ethic, saying, “It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy. You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s--t.”
Bunch of Idiots
In its 2014 Player Rankings, ESPN.com put Kobe Bryant at No. 40, a big drop from his spot the previous year at No. 25.
When asked by a reporter if that bothered him, Bryant responded, “Not really. I’ve known for a long time they’re a bunch of idiots.”
In 2012, Dwight Howard light-heartedly said that the “Gangnam Style” dance is part of his back injury rehabilitation.
Later, when Lakers Nation asked Kobe why he didn’t join in on the dance during a break in game action, he responded, per Business Insider, “I don’t ride horseys.”
Never exactly known for modesty, Bryant thinks of himself as a role model to a younger generation of basketball players (and he very well might be).
In 2012, Bryant told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Just by observation of some of the younger players that I face now, they wind up having a similar mentality that I had. Because growing up, they were obviously watching me when I was 21, 22 years old and just kind of by any means necessary get things done, not afraid of the big moment and extremely competitive. They all have these work ethics now and most of them get up at five in the morning to train like I do. It’s pretty cool.
Proving himself both witty and snarky, Kobe Bryant explained why he missed five free throws in a 2011 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He told reporters after the game (via Andy Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com), “That was point shaving.”
Pass to Himself
Kobe has long been accused of being a ball hog. In 2012 during a game against the Houston Rockets, he essentially passed himself the ball using the backboard.
Rick Reilly of ESPN.com reported that Bryant said, “I should get an assist for that. It's an intentional pass to oneself, so it's an assist. That way people can't say all I do is shoot.”
Man’s got a point.
Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown
Prior to a 2012 preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant reminisced about old times in 2005-06. He told reporters (via Janis Carr of the Orange County Register), “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.”
Ouch. But wait, it gets worse (better?). Bryant went on to call Parker “the worst” and say, “He shouldn't have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”
Because it's 2014, great quotes can now include great tweets.
In early 2013, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and suggested the possibility that the Lakers could amnesty Kobe (via ESPNDallas.com).
Obviously, Kobe didn’t take too kindly to that. He proceeded by scoring 38 points in a game against Cuban's Mavs and tweeting afterward, “Amnesty THAT.”
I Baptized Him
Before they teamed up together in L.A., Kobe and Dwight Howard played together in the 2008 Olympics for Team USA.
Back in 2008, reporters asked Kobe Bryant what he thought about Dwight Howard. In addition to calling him the “strongest guy I’ve ever played against,” Bryant also said, “I baptized him.” This was in reference to Dwight’s defensive skills.
In Games 2 and 3 of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bryant didn’t exactly perform at his best from the field. The Lakers lost Game 2 but won Game 3 behind Bryant’s 18-of-18 performance from the charity stripe.
In response to criticism regarding his recent performances, Bryant told Yahoo Sports, “I don’t give a [expletive] what you say. If I go out there and miss game winners, and people say, 'Kobe choked, or Kobe is seven for whatever in pressure situations.' Well, [expletive] you.”
I Only Want to Be Kobe Bryant
According to ESPN Page 2, a young Kobe Bryant said in 1997, “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It's the ultimate challenge.”
Also, “I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”