Kobe Bryant

The Lakers are taking on the San Antonio Spurs for round one of the NBA playoffs without their general Kobe Bryant.  While we’ll miss seeing him on the floor he’ll certainly do all he can to stay involved.  And thanks to Sports Illustrated here’s 15 classic Kobe quotes to hold you over in case you miss him a little too much.

Shay Marie

1. “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge.”

– Reportedly from December 1997

2. “The whole Michael thing does drive me nuts sometimes because people won’t leave it alone. He’s bald, I have hair. He’s almost 40, I’m 22. Seriously though, I wish people would let it be and let me just be Kobe.”

From a 2001 interview with Basketball Digest

3. “I’m not changing my game whatsoever. I take good shots, hit the open man when he’s there. I definitely don’t need advice on how to play my game.”

– From an October 26, 2003 LA Times story that explored the growing rift between Bryant and Shaq.

4. “I was just letting them fly … You know I don’t leave any bullets in the chamber.

– After Bryant tallied 48 points in a January 7, 2006 game against the 76ers. (Later in the interview Bryant told the reporter, who had been asking about his leggings, “You’re looking at my legs too much. You’ve got serious problems.”)

5. “Better learn not to talk to me. You shake the tree, a leopard’s gonna fall out.”

– Aimed at JR Smith, who had directed some choice words at Bryant during a 2008 Lakers-Nuggets playoff game. Kobe finished with 49 points and 10 assists.

6. “I baptized him. I turned him into a defensive player.”

– Discussing Dwight Howard in May 2008

7. “Not bad for seventh best player in the league.”

-After Bryant scored 48 points—the most-ever by a player in his 16th season—during a January 10, 2012 game against the Suns, he made sure ESPN knew how he felt about where they ranked him on their top-500-players list.

8. “I don’t give a [expletive] what you say. If I go out there and miss game winners, and people say, ‘Kobe choked, or Kobe is seven for whatever in pressure situations.’ Well, [expletive] you. Because I don’t play for your [expletive] approval.”

-From a May 2012 interview with Yahoo! Sports

9. “[Smush Parker is] the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”

October 10, 2012, in an Orange Country Register story that reflected on the 2005-06 season

10. “Are you willing to push the right buttons even if it means being perceived as the villain? … I’d rather be perceived as a winner than a good teammate. I wish they both went hand in hand all the time but that’s just not reality. … I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success.”

– October 13, 2012, on Facebook

11. “Would people be celebrating me if I scored 138 points? You know how it is, some people would, some people wouldn’t. They can all kiss my a– as I’m sure he feels the same way. If you score 138 points, you kind of have a license to tell people to f— off.”

– November 20, 2012, after an unidentified reporter asked Kobe if people would celebrate him if he, like Grinnell College’s Jack Taylor, were to score 139 points in a game.

12. Watching the game now, the easy shots I missed, I could of had 100 pts!

– While watching, on the seventh anniversary of his 81-point barrage, video of that game for the first time.

13. Amnesty THAT

– In reference to Mark Cuban’s comments days earlier that the Lakers should consider using their amnesty clause on Kobe after this season. Bryant went on to drop 38 points 12 rebounds and 7 assists in a win against the Mavs.

14. “It’s not like when Shaq and I were feuding. We didn’t want to be around each other. With me and Dwight, that’s just not the situation. It’s not like we’re best friends either, but it’s a good understanding I think.”

– In a March 10, 2013 interview with Michael Wilbon about a reported feud with Dwight Howard

15. “Emotional? Save the emotional shit for when you retire. Please.”

– On March 11, 2013, directed at media members who were referring to Howard’s return to Orlando as “emotional”.