We all heard the murmurs of Kobe Bryant's competitiveness on and off the court. He had a tennis table delivered to his home after he lost a match to a Los Angeles Lakers Staff. He learned fluent Spanish when he was 17 years old. He took off his Olympic gold medal during a photo shoot with Lisa Leslie since the Sparks player did not wear her own medal. He makes his way to see Dwyane Wade after the Miami guard broke his nose in the all-star game.
This is what fuels the mercurial star of the Los Angeles Lakers. Lakers writer Kevin Ding bares all of these in a list of 19 stories about Bryant that showcases his competitive fire, over-all kindness around his daughters and his will to always come out on top.
Among the said Kobe Bryant list, one that stands out among others is a brutal text message he sent LeBron James during the summer of 2010. A little backgrounder: Kobe just won his fifth NBA title over rivals Boston Celtics and LeBron James made the headlines for his decision to bolt the Cavaliers for South Beach. This is what the Black Mamba apparently sent to James:
"Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we're going to win the championship. Don't worry about it."
This is indicative of a little trash talking from Bryant given the perspective of things at the time. LeBron just teamed up to make the Superfriends while the Bryant and the Lakers which just won the championship are being relegated to a sub-headline. Fast forward to today, the Lakers are in some sort of rebuilding mode while James has already won two championships with the Heat.
What makes matters worse for Kobe Bryant, he is returning from a devastating Achilles heel injury that sidelined him for most of 2013 while LeBron has been all roses for the media with his return as the prodigal son of Cleveland. He is also joining a loaded team of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Dion Waiters while Kobe has well, an equally injured Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin, you get the picture.
Nonetheless, this is typical of Kobe Bryant ever the competitor and the challenger. A simple text to drive his nearest competition at the time to a little back and forth must have again fueled his engine to win the third. Well he faltered but you can never count out the spirit of the Black Mamba who declared that just because something ages or transforms to another form, makes it any less than its original form.