DALLAS - Kobe Bryant finally did it.
Moments after the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals, Bryant met with the media.
"I guess I can finally say I've passed Jordan...and what a feeling!"
Bryant led the defending world champions to a four game sweep at the hands of the Mavericks. Fans sat in awe as one of the greatest players in the world surpassed Michael Jordan in a way that only he could...by leading his team to allow 49 3-point field goals in a
four game sweep.
"We knew they were good from the outside," said Bryant. "But we just wanted to see how good...and we found out...that they're real good."
Bryant's leadership was on full display when he decided to take the series into his own hands after a Game 1 loss. Bryant pulverized the Mavericks for 19 points per game over the last three games of the series.
It was something Jordan only wished he could do.
"I watched Michael while growing up. I always told myself that I could be better than him...and today...I finally am. I led my team to a four game sweep...something Michael was never able to do...and I did it in my championship years...Michael never even lost a series in five after 1988...the whole thing is just really touching."
Bryant fought back tears when he recalled the last sweep.
"I remember in 1999 when we were swept by San Antonio. I told myself, 'someday, I'm gonna get to the top of my game and prove to everybody that I'm just as good as Michael! Then, I'm gonna lead my team into a four game sweep...and then I'm going to stun everybody by playing passively in the final three games. Then, halfway through Game 4, we'll all quit...and to top things off...dirty fouls...just to distance myself from his legacy...then, finally, I'll have done something that Michael has never done!"
Bryant has tried throughout his career to top Jordan. In 2005, Bryant led his Lakers to a 34-48 record. Jordan's teams never stooped so low after Jordan's second season...Bryant accomplished the feat in his ninth season.
"I've tried to switch things up. The second people start comparing me to Michael, I try to go out of my way to remind people that I'm nothing like him. I don't like that pressure. I've always tried to one-up him...he was accused of heavy gambling...I topped him with rape accusal...let's just say I've done pretty well."