Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at 3:40 pm  |  26 responses

Kobe Bryant Compares Himself to Floyd Mayweather in ‘Last Chapter’ of His Career

In a terrific cover story for the latest issue of SI, Kobe Bryant opens up about everything that took place during the turbulent 2012-’13, and looks forward towards an uncertain future. Bryant considers this the “final chapter” of his storied NBA career, and says that despite being possibly slowed down by an Achilles tear, much like boxing great (and friend) Floyd Mayweather, Kobe thinks he’ll figure out a way to continue being dominant: “In an age when athletes aspire to be icons, yet share the burden of success with all their best pals, Bryant looms as perhaps the last alpha dog, half greyhound and half pit bull. No one handles him. No one censors him. He shows up alone. ‘What am I trying to be?’ he asks. ‘Am I trying to be a hip, cool guy? Am I trying to be a business mogul? Am I trying to be a basketball player?’ He doesn’t provide an answer. He doesn’t have to. It’s been obvious since he was 11 years old in Italy and a club from Bologna tried to buy his rights. The gym was the place he could go at 4 a.m., “to smell the scent” and pour the fuel. Bryant wonders whether his sanctuary is finally closing, and if so, how he will cope without it. He recognizes what many around him do not: The persona, lifelike as it may be, is only partly real. Beneath it is a three-dimensional figure, with the same vulnerabilities as anybody else, plus the will to overcome them. ‘I have self-doubt,’ Bryant says. ‘I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it. You rise above it. … I don’t know how I’m going to come back from this injury. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be horses—.’ He pauses, as if envisioning himself as an eighth man. ‘Then again, maybe I won’t, because no matter what, my belief is that I’m going to figure it out. Maybe not this year or even next year, but I’m going to stay with it until I figure it out.’ [...] He adopted a title for the next phase of his career, which will begin when rehab ends and he sticks that gold Lakers jersey back in his teeth, whether on opening night or Christmas Day or sometime in between. ‘It’s The Last Chapter,’ Bryant says. ‘The book is going to close. I just haven’t determined how many pages are left … I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward,’ Bryant says. ‘I reflect with a purpose.’ [...] ‘Maybe I won’t have as much explosion,’ Bryant says. ‘Maybe I’ll be slower. Maybe I’ll lose quickness. But I have other options. It’s like Floyd Mayweather in the ring. There’s a reason he’s still at the top after all these years. He’s the most fundamentally sound boxer of all time. He can fight myriad styles at myriad tempos. He can throw fast punches or off-speed punches, and he can throw them from odd angles.’”

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  • Best Rapper


  • Best Rapper

    Mark my words.. Kobe will end his career with 6 rings.. Forget those that doubt

  • Best Rapper

    Even if his career ended today.. He’s top ten or top 5 all-time hands down!

  • robb

    I love Kobe and Floyd. Both have incredible talent, but what separates them from others is their will, their discipline and their dedication. Being on top after 17 years is an incredible feat.

    I hope Kobe can make it, love him or hate him you can’t question how driven and how committed he is. I’ll always be rooting for him.

  • danpowers

    with the difference that bryant will rank higher on an nba all time list than mayweather will rank overall among the all time greats between super feather and light middle weight. his recent win against al canelo might give him a legit shot at the top 5 all time, but greats like duran, leonard, gans, williams, ortiz and a handfull of others are still considered as better. simply because they had to prove themselves more often against other greats.

  • hamidashimono

    I’m sorry, but to think that his recent victory over Canelo might give him a legit shot at top 5 all time is to completely ignore the long list of boxing world champions that Mayweather has defeated prior to that. FMJ has been a world champ for 15 straight years and #1 pound-for-pound boxer for almost a decade.

    He might not fight very often compared with other boxing legends, but every time he steps in the ring he gives a complete masterclass on the sweet science. Further, he never really had to prove himself to other boxers in his generation (he only had a rematch with Castillo, who was The Ring #1-ranked lightweight at the time) as he totally outclasses everyone.

    I can understand that you have your favourite boxers, but in terms of achievements in the ring, Mayweather’s resume compares favourably to any other boxer out there. By the way, which Williams are you referring to as a boxing great?

    To wrap up my two cents, I believe that Mayweather will rank higher on boxing’s all-time greats list (top 5) than Kobe on an NBA all-time greats list (between 10 – 20).

  • robb

    I agree

  • robb

    Both are top 10 IMO (I’m a big Kobe fan). I’ve been watching boxing since I was 5 yo. and Money’s talent, skills and achievements are second to none. He’s an artist. Canelo is the most overrated fighter in the world, so him losing against Floyd was expected.

    My top 5 goes:

    -Sugar Ray Robinson
    -Jack Dempsey
    -Joe Louis
    -Henry Armstrong Jr.

    My 5 favorite:

    -Sugar Ray Leonard
    -Roy Jones Jr.
    -Mike Tyson
    -Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    my opinion

  • pposse

    would some of those guys be considered great if floyd kept whoopin them? You never know, that’s why he earned the right to be in boxings top 5 discussion imo.

  • You

    If you have Jack Dempsey on your Top 5 your Top 5 just lost all credibility. Names like Jack Dempsey are on the ATG list only because of how hyped up “the past” or “the history” of any sport, especially boxing, is. When you actually go back and watch those JAck Dempsey fights, those were boxers who’s era of boxing was so early in the boxing history (early 1900′s) that boxing matches looked a lot like schoolyard slugfests from average joes.

    You can’t possibly tell me Jack Dempsey was a skilled boxer lmfao.

  • Jay Brodes

    i hope he can comeback close to what he did last year..amazing til he went down..thanks dantoni again for running him into the ground..not cool! nike drop pics of the kbix already!

  • danpowers

    most “expert lists” dont have him in the all time top 5. boxing aint basketball tho, potential means nothing. just proof and proof only. opposed to heavy weight were klitschko is lacking quality opponents there are quite some good guys in the lighter weight classes. its a shame that this mayweather vs pacquiao fight didnt work. that wouldve been a fight for the ages for sure. idk how much you know about boxing and boxing history, but just have a look at other guy’s records and read about their fights. you’ll definitely realize a difference to mayweathers career. he is one hell of a fighter tho, i rlly love watching him go to work.

  • danpowers

    why are you mixing up heavy weights with light weights? imo tht doesnt make much sense. i know us-americans easily get sensitive about ali quickly, but i dont really think that he was the best heavy weight of all time. no doubt – the greatest and most important figure in all of sports by that time. i got the utmost respect for what he did politically and how he brought another level of entertainment to boxing – only jack johnson had a comparable role in boxing.

    ali was also not only very good, he was great. i guarantee you tho that prime mike tyson wouldve knocked him out. i even think lennox lewis or holyfield on a good day wouldve given him the business. anyway, there are so many great boxers, that its too hard to make an all time 5. i couldnt do that.

    but mayweather jr in an all time 5 of all weight classes? hm, i dont buy the hype man

  • danpowers

    i wouldnt underrate his performance against canelo as age was a big factor in that one. mayweather was the favorite, it still takes a whole f*ckin lot to beat such a young talent at mayweathers age. i got the utmost respect for that.

    i agree more or less to what you said but still, his list of high profile fights compared to other guys of his craft is relatively short. it will always be a big malus to his legacy that the pacquiao fight didnt happen.

    “By the way, which Williams are you referring to as a boxing great?”
    - ike williams.

    hmmm i dont know man, mayweather is doomed to live in the wrong age. he is great, no doubt. but those guys e.g. in the 80s were facing tougher competition and bigger competition. on one hand – its not fair to lessen mayweathers performance because he couldnt go at so many great opponnents. on the other hand it lessens the performance of guys like tommy hearns, sugar ray leonard, roberto duran, (aaron pryor), donald
    curry or wilfred benitez to put mayweather ahead of this pack who had to prove themselves way more often. idk if he wouldve been able to walk through these times as an undefeated boxer.

  • hamidashimono

    Yeah, it’s only speculation when trying to compare boxers (or any athletes) from different eras. That’s why I don’t even try to do it…

    Even though the Pacquiao fight didn’t happen when Pacquiao still could (somewhat) make a case as P4P champ, that’s not to say that it won’t happen in the future. All Pac needs to do is leave Top Rank (fingers crossed!), cause we know that FMJ won’t give a cent to Bob Arum.

    I don’t agree with you when you said the Pacquiao fight not happening will affect FMJ’s legacy (FMJ’s resume is WAAY more impressive than Pac’s in my humble opinion), but I’m fine to agree to disagree.

  • adia

    wow. lebron mentions fear of failure and everybody goes nuts. kobe says it a few days later and boom. where r the criticisms?

  • grgeblck


  • pposse

    i could be wrong but I thought after the Canelo fight the chirping was that Floyd did cement his place in the top 5?

    I don’t follow nor watch boxing much, but when FMJ fights i try to watch, he really does define the term ‘sweet science’ with the way he boxes.

    On a side note I did go to a boxing gym for a month and that is definately one of if not the hardest workouts to get thru..i have the utmost respect for boxers and what they have to go thru.

  • danpowers

    i used to do boxing for 4 years while also playing basketball, that was really tough. even though other martial arts are more effective in terms of taking a guy out, boxing requires one of the toughest workouts that a human being can do. im really not athletic by nature but by that time i had the fitness of an olympic athlete lol.

    i also think this canelo fight was huge for his legacy. i wouldnt say this alone cemented his place in an all time top 5, but it definitely provides another argument to his favor. he is definitely a joy to watch, but just google any list of all time greats of light weight boxers and watch some tape on youtube. you will see, he didnt really invent the wheel or something and other greats also put on a show. the difference between especially big names of the 80s and him is that they just had more big fights. thats not his fault,, but still a circumstance in favor of those guys facing more competition.

  • Anthony

    Don’t know why all the amazement at the fear of failure statements. Hoop is 1 of the most exposed team sports there is, no helmet/pads to shield you, no hat to cover your eyes….It’s just you in sneaks & shorts w/ 4 other kats in front of the crowd. And if you’re the “go to” guy that’s supposed to this & that…that’s pressure…and pressure busts pipes if you can’t handle it.

  • Mike Gilbert

    Kobe would fight Pacquiao

  • pposse

    its not that he invented the wheel just that he perfected it in a way. I don’t think i’ve ever seen him make a mistake. I dont even think i ever seen him get cut or even brusied to be honest. The fight I want to see is FMJ vs Adrian Broner but them two are butt buddies and it would never happen.

  • robb

    I never said he was a skilled fighter

  • robb

    Floyd’s an all time favorite of mine, but I’m objective. He’s no top 5 all time, just one of my favs.

  • danpowers

    he is also one of my favs, strangely i enjoyed watching that douche „prince“ naseem hamed the most. nobody ever put up a show like him – in and off the ring lol. which i think is more of a good thing tho

  • danpowers

    youre absolutely right, he brought his style almost (or actually) to perfection. its just sad we didnt see him truly challenged more often. well, there have been others, too, who never seem to get really hurt (even when they lose) that “just” comes with a defensive style. i wouldve loved to see him against naseem hamed before hamed got his hands messed up, that wouldve been the most entertaining fight in boxing history. do you know that guy?if not, he is a must see at youtube. not a boxer to be taken serious tho.