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Kobe says he always admired Larry Bird’s determination

Feb 9, 2012, 10:24 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

We’ve got a mutual admiration society going.

First you have Larry Bird saying Kobe Bryant is the player going right now that he most would want to play with, because Kobe is about winning.

Now Kobe turns around and said that he always looked up to Larry Bird. Their games are very different — well, maybe not so much any more now that Kobe is settling for a lot of long-two point jumpers — but it is Bird’s drive that Kobe always admired.

Here is what Kobe said about Bird’s compliment, via A. Sherrod Blakely at

“It means the world to me, because I looked up to him and his work ethic,” Bryant said when told of Bird’s comments. “I always viewed him as being a staple of a blue-collar player that’s been blessed with a great deal of talent. His determination, his motivation … I remember some of the quotes I heard from (Comcast SportsNet analyst and NBA Hall of Famer) Tommy Heinsohn describing Larry Bird, that was very moving to me when I was a kid. I said, ‘if I can be that way, I feel I can be pretty good.’ So I kind of followed his lead in that regard. To hear him have that kind of praise for me, means a lot.”

This in no way means Kobe likes the Boston Celtics. The Lakers face the Celtics in the Garden Thursday night.

  1. loungefly74 - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    …makes me think of the scene in Pulp Fiction with the “The Wolf”…

    The Wolf circles the car examining it.

    Jules and Vincent stand aside, their clothes are literally a
    bloody mess, but they do have a sense of pride in what a
    good job they’ve done.

    Fine job, gentlemen. We may get out
    of this yet.

    I can’t believe that’s the same car.

    Well, let’s not start suckin’ each
    other’s d*#ks quite yet. Phase one
    is complete, clean the car, which
    moves us right along to phase two,
    clean you two.

  2. loungefly74 - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    alright…i guess that was a bad analogy. my bad guys.

  3. zblott - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I wonder what Kobe thinks of the last few years of Bird’s career when he was “hanging around averaging 18-19 ppg,” something Kobe said he’d never do. I’m guessing that “determination” he admired in Bird had more to do with the seasons Larry Legend was shooting 20+ times a game and not the seasons he was contributing to a winning team in other ways, sometimes even in ways that weren’t counted in the boxscore.

    • genericcommenter - Feb 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Bird was never “hanging around averaging 18-19 ppg,” especially not for “years.” In his next to last season, he averaged 19.4, easily his lowest scoring season ( I don’t think we can count the 19.3 that one season when he only played 6 games). He added 8.5 boards, 7.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1 block per game, while shooting .454/.389/.891. In his last season he averaged 20.2/9.6/6.8 while shooting .466/.406/.926

      Averaging 24.3/19.4/20.2 the last 3 seasons with high numbers and percentages in just about avery category isn’t really “hanging around.”

      I guess someone like Reggie Miller – not to pick on him but most people here consider him a sure- HOFer for his shooting/scoring- was “hanging around” for his last 13 seasons, since he only averaged more than 18-19ppg twice.

    • LPad - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      You are aware that Bird spent last two years of his career battling back injuries and at no point in his career was he not the primary scoring option (only time Bird dropped less than 21 a game where years he was injured). In fact, Bird and Kobe actually had the “determination” to battle through painful injuries.

      Bird last 5 years:

      87-88 BOS 76 GP 29.9 PTS
      88-89 BOS 6 GP 19.3 PTS
      89-90 BOS 75 GP 24.3 PTS
      90-91 BOS 60 GP 19.4 PTS
      91-92 BOS 45 GP 20.2 PTS

    • dedalus13 - Feb 10, 2012 at 5:43 AM

      Wow! Is averaging 18-19 ppg just hanging around? Is this an actual quote (from who…)?
      For a full season this is about 1500 pts. Just for the record, the 5 last seasons only 55 players topped this mark, for a combined 113 times. So in average just 11 players per season… I wonder how many NBA players would like to just hang around like this only once in their career…

  4. conjecture101 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Kobe’s doing everything he can to not reveal how badly he wants to catch Jordan.

  5. ambitoos - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I read somewhere that Kobe was the greatest Laker ever. I beg to differ. The greatest Laker ever is Jerry West. Not because he scored more but because he was a great player, a great coach, and a great GM of the Lakers. He was Mr. Clutch. He brought great players to the Lakers including Kobe Bryant. He got things done and made things happen. He will always be my favorite Laker.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 9, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      Without a doubt J.West

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