Is this the beginning of the end for Kobe Bryant? Maybe. Will he let you know that? Hell no.
At 36 years old, it's no secret that the Black Mamba is at the twilight of his career. And considering he's logged in more than 45,000 minutes of playing time since he entered the league at 18, you can imagine the wear that he's put on his body to win five championships.
But what's keeping a guy who's accomplished every significant feat in the game of basketball on the court? Well, aside from chasing Michael Jordan's greatness, he's chasing his own. He runs the NBA at this point and everyone (including Dwight Howard) knows it.
In an age during which athletes are now actors and flopping is the new brawling, at least there's one player who keeps it G. The worst part is, for some damn reason, he's not getting the respect he deserves.
That's just fine with Kobe, though. He's never given a f*ck about haters. Would he have gotten to where he is today if he had? Probably not, but these 24 legendary quotes proves that the Mamba is the Godfather of this sh*t.
On ESPN ranking him as the 40th best player for 2014:
I've known for a long time that they're a bunch of idiots.
On whether players fouled him as hard as they foul Blake Griffin:
I'd smack the f*ck out of somebody.
On defenders that flop during games:
Where are your balls at?
After dishing out 11 assists in a game:
I’m like Neo out this motherf*cker.
On playing for interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff:
He’s good. He’s getting the f*ck outta the way.
On why he does the death stare:
I don't give a f*ck how it was interpreted. It doesn't really matter to me. I'm too old to deal with that stuff.
On his approach to trash-talking:
I don't talk trash often, but when I do, I go for the jugular.
On his only fear in life:
The only thing I'm afraid of is bees. I don't like bees. I'm allergic to them.
On the time he played one-on-one with Tracy McGrady:
I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn't even close.
On when the Lakers started the season 0-2:
Everybody shut up. Let us work.
On Smush Parker playing point guard in 2005:
He shouldn't have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard.
On the people who call him a ball hog:
I wouldn't say I'm a ball hog. I'm a shooter.
On what makes him a good leader:
The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don't have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven't had that fear.
On haters in general:
I don’t give a f*ck 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, f*ck you. Because I don’t play for your f*cking approval.
On handling negativity:
Everything negative -- pressure, challenges -- is all an opportunity for me to rise.
On handling self-doubt:
I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it.
On what's most important to him:
The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.
On following the footsteps of Michael Jordan:
I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.
On why this generation is so lucky:
Because growing up, they were obviously watching me when I was 21, 22.
On the moment he believes he achieved greatness:
At the end of 2003, my game was complete.
On the Lakers lacking energy last year:
Because we're old as sh*t. What do you want?
More on flopping:
We're grown ass men, you don't need to be falling all over the place.
On Dwight Howard: