Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 12/19/12
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You only need to see Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant play once to know hat he thinks about himself and his game. Whether it's making a ridiculous shot from the baseline or dribbling through his legs a few time and hitting a 3-pointer confidently, you'll realize that the guy thinks very highly of himself. He used to be worse at this earlier in his career, but he's calmed down a bit since then although he does show a little bit of vintage "Black Mamba" moments on and off the court every now and then. And after the game against the Philadelphia 76ers, it wasn't any different. When he got playfully teased at never apologizing for being a ball hog by the LA Times' TJ Simers, he made his case for it saying that's what he does. He thinks he does it so well that if he was coached by Mike D'Antoni in his early years in the league, he'd have 40,000 points by now, especially if he didn't play next to former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. "If I wasn't playing with Shaq, probably, I would have scored a lot more for sure." Kobe's absolutely right on that part. Any good coach will always go with the easiest shot and that would have been in the paint with the "Most Dominant Player in NBA History." Kobe might've easily had more shots, especially if he was coached by D'Antoni. You might even double his production since his current coach doesn't believe in a defensive philosophy at all and just wants to outscore his opponents over stopping them. If that would've happened, it would've come at an expense of other major achievements by Bryant, mainly NBA titles and Kobe knows that. That's what he's fighting for this year even if he's having to carry the burden over the struggling Lakers team right now. The following quote by Bryant explains his current mindset at this stage of his career. "When you have another dominant teammate, you have the capability of winning more and individually you sacrifice more. This is probably something Bryant would have never said 7-8 years ago. He would've thought his team was able to win with him scoring the majority of the points and taking most of the shots. For his fans, he's matured a lot to this point and a matured Kobe with some vintage play in him, like he's shown this season, may be bad news for the rest of the league.
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