Despite the widely-held belief that Michael Jordan is indeed the G.O.A.T., Kevin Durant thinks Kobe Bryant is right up there with MJ. Durant has turned to Bryant for advice in the past, and says Bean is neck-and-neck with the best ever. Per the LA Daily News:

The clock struck 3 a.m., and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant stayed wide awake.

He wanted to sleep, but his mind raced. Durant wondered the different ways he could carve up defenses with his prolific scoring. Durant also worried about further elevating his teammates.

Durant then texted a friend, who both would have answers and be up at an ungodly hour.

Kobe Bryant.

“I was picking his brain a little bit. He’s one of those guys who’s a night owl so he picked the phone up,” Durant said of the Lakers’ star. “That’s something I’ll always remember. When we play each other, it’s better now that we have that relationship because there’s always bragging rights.”

Durant downplayed the MVP race with (LeBron) James, saying, “I want to be known as a winner.” But Durant described himself as a basketball historian, visiting Wikipedia every day to read up on NBA greats, ranging from Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Adrian Dantley and Bryant. And from their time together on one U.S. Olympic team, three joint All-Star appearances and late-night phone calls, Durant strongly credits Bryant’s unspecified feedback for spurring his development.

“He’s the greatest of all time. His skill is second to none. Him and MJ are neck and neck as far as skill,” Durant said. “Kobe is the top two best ever in just having skill, footwork, shooting the 3, shooting the pull-up, posting up, dunking on guys and ball handling. Kobe and Jordan are 1 and 1A.”

“When you look at me, Carmelo (Anthony), LeBron and Paul George, what we’ve done out there in this league is nothing compared to what Kobe did,” Durant said. “We live in a world of what have you done for me lately. We don’t remember the day before sometimes. Think back five, six, years ago what he was doing. It’s unheard of.”