Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 3/5/12

With the Lakers hosting the Heat on Sunday, everybody’s attention likely centers on three of the league’s biggest superstars: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (sorry, Chris Bosh). But sharing the stage with big names isn’t enough for Kobe to consider any of them a rival. Apparently he thinks it’s “a little late in the game” to have rivals who are currently playing.

“I’ve outgrown them all, from A.I. (Allen Iverson) when I first came in to (Tracy) McGrady to Vince Carter and so forth and so on,” Kobe said Friday, according to ESPN LA.

“At this point my rivals, in terms of what I have left to accomplish in my career, (left the game) when Magic (Johnson) and Michael (Jordan) retired in ’98. That’s it. In terms of what I’m looking to accomplish, that’s about it.”

Bryant is obviously thinking in terms of championships here. With five rings, Kobe needs one more to pass fellow Laker great Magic and two more to pass Jordan. This is perhaps Kobe’s way of saying you need championships to be considered on his level. And with Wade’s one and LeBron’s none, they both kind of fall short.

Either that, or Kobe refuses to be mentioned in the same sentence with guys who think they’re Banana Republic models.

Photo credit: Richard Rowe, US Presswire

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