Kobe has some bold words concerning his rivals in the NBA
"He's too young. He's too young. When I came into the league, he was in elementary school."
So who are his rivals? No one playing right now, according to Kobe.
"At this point my rivals, in terms of what I have left to accomplish in my career, (left the game) when Magic (Johnson) and Michael (Jordan) retired in '98. That's it. In terms of what I'm looking to accomplish, that's about it."
Clearly these are some pretty strong words, but to be honest, he's 100% right.
Some people are calling it cocky, but to compare Kobe's career to any active player would be almost criminal.
Tim Duncan has been a great player for the Spurs, and he has 4 championships, but even his stellar career pales a bit in comparison compared to Kobe in terms of individual excellence. Also, their style of play is so dramatically different, there's really no way to reasonably compare them.
As far as others who play similarly today, there really isn't anyone who can touch Kobe's legacy. Wade has a ring, but he doesn't have 5, like Kobe. LeBron James might be the best individual player in the world right now, but he has a well-documented history of coming up short in the playoffs.
Just how close is Kobe to surpassing Michael Jordan? Honestly, he'd need to win two more championships and at least one more MVP, in my mind. Even then, I don't think you could compare his career to Jordan's level of dominance.
But you can be sure that Kobe has his eye on the Greatest.