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Kobe goes Phil Jackson, says Cleveland, Denver are NBA’s best

Lakers Media Day

EL SEGUNDO, CA - OCT 1: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during media day at Toyota Training Center on October 1, 2007 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images )

Juan Ocampo

Kobe Bryant in an interview is just like Kobe on the court -- he comes off as this spontaneous and off-the-cuff guy, but he is practiced and studied. Exactly like his game. And he has learned well from Phil Jackson -- often he has a second message hidden in his words.

Keep that in mind as you check out Kobe’s interview on the Dan Patrick Show.

Best team I’ve seen this year? It’s gotta be Cleveland or Denver. Those are the two teams that we’ve faced this season that have given us problems. (Host: What about the Mavericks as of late?) They played us really, really well. We just played them recently obviously and they play very well against us. That’s still kinda in the starting process of them adjusting to having those two pieces. Caron (Butler) didn’t play when we played them but they’ve been on a roll since the trade.”

Notice he doesn’t mention his own team. And throws in a top team from the West, even though the Lakers beat them on Sunday playing just 18 minutes of good ball. Pump up the competition, feed their egos. Slap your own team a little with the fact you don’t include them in the list.

Of course, Patrick was required to ask the “hey, you going to leave LA question” when that answer has been plainly obvious to everyone who knows Kobe. If you want to win a title, you’re going to leave this Lakers roster to go play for the Knicks?

“No. No. No. In this situation the challenge is winning championships. (Host: Do you have to get to six championships?) That has nothing to do with it. For me it’s about winning as many as you can. I’ve been fortunate enough to win four and every year it’s a new challenge to try to win that one.”