The great Larry Bird was asked by Bill Simmons about Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Which one would choose as a teammate?
Here’s Bird’s response:
“Well, probably Kobe, because of the fact that … well, of course he wouldn’t have been shooting as much as he does now … but his desire to win, his dedication, to always get better, uh, and he’s just, he’s just tough,” Bird said. “He’s just a tough cat.
“But, if you want to have fun, like I did with Bill Walton, play with LeBron. It would have probably been more fun to play with LeBron, but if you want to win and win and win, it’s Kobe. Not that LeBron’s not a winner, just that [Kobe’s] mindset is to go into every practice, every game, to get better.”
This is the answer I expected from Bird because he is right on the mark. Bryant has been successful over the years as a basketball player and every year he just seems to be a smarter general on the floor.
He is one of the greatest winners of all time. Years of clutch plays and incredible shots, Bryant has become one of the greatest players to ever grace the NBA floors.
James is a great player too. He has won some big games in his career — but not the ultimate prize. He is a beast on the floor and demands a lot of attention. He is still a work in progress and every year he continues to elevate his game.
But Bird is right. Bryant is the one you want to win with. James is the one you want to have for a fun game of ball. Ultimately, it’s what Bird is looking for in a game of basketball. And Bird, a winner himself, sticks with what he knows.