In Kobe Bryant's mind, he should have won seven championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant, who sat out the 2015 All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden with a rotator cuff injury, will nonetheless put a stamp on the festivities via a far-ranging conversation airing Monday night on NBA TV.
Premiering on Feb. 16 at 9 p.m., Kobe: The Interviewwas conducted by Ahmad Rashad. The conversation with the Los Angeles Lakers legend, touches myriad topics, including his thoughts on how titles against the Boston Celtics in 2008 and Detroit Pistons in 2004 got away; how he’s transformed his game through the years; his motivation; and reflections on his former teammates and coaches.
Bryant on the goals he set when he started his career: “It was really simple for me, at the time, which is win as many championships as possible. That was it. You know, I watched Michael win six. I watched Magic win five. You know [Bill] Russell…growing up, I understood that to be the standard.”
Bryant on players he’s admired that he’s lined up against: “That is a really long list...I played against the golden greats...Michael [Jordan], [John] Stockton, [Gary] Payton, [Clyde] Drexler...All the way up to this generation of players – LeBron [James], D-Wade [Dwyane Wade] and KD [Kevin Durant] – to now the younger generation…[Stephen] Curry, James Harden, all these players...Klay Thompson, I admire all of them because they all bring something different to the game and they all have their strengths that you can learn from.”
Bryant on whether he’s at the end: “I can’t say it is the end. I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. Those guys are still winning. So, to answer the question, I can’t say this is the end of my era because I thought their [era] was done and they’re still there. So I’m hoping I can have the same rebirth.”
The network’s NBA All-Star Monday primetime lineup on Feb. 16 will also feature Countdown to Kobe: The Interview at 8:30 p.m., hosted by Vince Cellini, a 30-minute show looking back at Bryant’s standout career and legacy, featuring interviews from current and former Lakers teammates, along with guests. Bryant’s former teammate and current NBA TV analyst Rick Fox will also join the show live from New York.
The night will conclude with a special New York themed edition of NBA TV’s critically acclaimed Open Courtat 10 p.m., with the conversation centering on hoops' influence in the city.
The Open Court panel discussion, hosted by Sports Emmy Award winner Ernie Johnson, will feature a collection of TNT and NBA TV analysts including Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill and Steve Smith, along with former New York Knicks guard John Starks as a guest on the show.
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