Most NBA fans naturally assume that Kobe Bryant wanted to win six NBA titles during his career just like Michael Jordan did. Not true. During an interview with Robin Roberts that aired on Good Morning America earlier today, Kobe revealed that, growing up in Italy, he actually dreamed about winning eight titles—and he realizes that, at the very least, he likely would have been able to win seven if he had been able to coexist with Shaquille O’Neal for longer than he did.
“I wanted eight championships as a dreamy kid growing up in Italy,” he said. “I wanted eight, because Magic had five and Michael had six. I said, ‘OK, I’m going to win eight.’ I had an opportunity to have seven, and it didn’t work out.”
Later, Roberts asked Kobe to name his top five NBA players of all time and, somewhat surprisingly, he didn’t include himself in the discussion.
“I would never put myself in the starting five, ever,” he said. “I would put people I have actually learned the most from—being Jordan, Magic, Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Jerry West.”
And of course, Roberts had to ask Kobe about the never-ending Kobe vs. MJ debate. Specifically, she asked him whether or not he actually believes he could beat MJ 1-on-1, and he responded with a pretty diplomatic answer.
“He would win some,” he said, “I would win some. Those are debates that will go on forever.”
You can check out the entire interview in the clip above. Kobe also addressed his decision to retire and talked about how he knew it was time for him to call it quits.