Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez have a lot in common. At some point over the last five years, both were considered the best players in their respective sports. Both know what it feels like to win a championship. Both are highly-polarizing figures who draw a range of emotions from their fans and detractors alike. And both have been -- and currently are -- very well compensated for their contributions to their respective teams.
On Tuesday night, Kobe was asked about Rodriguez’s struggles as of late. (He was benched for the New York Yankees’ Game 3 ALCS showdown versus the Detroit Tigers.) As you would expect, No. 24's assessment of the situation was great.
"We spoke a couple of days ago," Bryant said (via ESPN) "You can only control what you can control. You go out there and do the best job you can. If they take you out of the lineup, it's really on you to be a good teammate and support the other guys, which he's good about doing."
That’s sound advice, but is it really all that Kobe -- one of the most fierce competitors in NBA history -- offered? Of course not.
"I just say to him, 'You're Alex Rodriguez. You're A-Rod. You're one of the best to ever do it,'" Bryant said. "I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, 'Hell with it' and just do your thing.
"Hopefully the next game they'll kind of give him a chance, maybe put him back at third and let him respond to the pressure, which I think he'll do."
Kobe’s best quote on the matter, undoubtedly, came when he described the main difference in psyche between him and A-Rod.
"We're different," Bryant said. "But you're talking about, 'He's one of the best to ever play.' I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he's the best. ... Where, I don't.”
If ever there was a single quote that encapsulated why Kobe is who he is, and why Rodriguez is who he is – that was it.