Why Kobe Bryant Believed Winning an NCAA Championship Is Tougher Than an NBA Championship

Published 09/29/2021, 12:32 AM EDT
(Denver, Colorado – Friday, May 29, 2009) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant yells out in frustration after just missing a circus shot against the Nuggets defense late in the first half in game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


The NBA championship is obviously the holy grail for any basketball player, the pinnacle of their careers. However, some players made the finals their home ground. Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Bill Russell won multiple championship in their long careers in the NBA.

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When it comes to Bryant, his only goal was to win. His competitive drive and self-confidence made him one of the greatest ever in the game. This was also the reason why Bryant was known for being lethal in crunch time.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA JANUARY 29, 2013-Lakers Kobe Bryant bites his jersey while Pau Gasol shoots a free throw at the Staples Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Likewise, when he joined the Lakers, he had the blessing of playing with Shaquille O’Neal. Together they went on to do the three-peat and still are the last team to achieve that feat. However, despite winning a championship, putting up 27 points per game, he showed up at the Rucker. Byron Mouton was one guy who played against Kobe that day.

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Kobe Bryant felt winning NCAA championship is tougher

After his three peat with the Lakers, Kobe surprised everyone when he showed up at the Rucker. Mouton was a college player who went on to face the ‘Mamba’ that day. While the day itself was memorable, Mouton shared a crazy story about something Kobe said.

Like Bryant, Byron was coming off a championship win. While it wasn’t an NBA championship, he had won the NCAA championship. Surprisingly, when the two met at jump ball, Kobe congratulated him for winning. But what shocked him was when Kobe said that winning a college championship is tougher than an NBA title.

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Mouton said: “I never forget this moment man. At jump ball, Kobe came to me and said congratulations on your national championship. I’m like ‘Kobe what do you mean man, you just won three world championships in a row’. So he was like, ‘let me tell you something man, I never played college ball. There’s only one team can win a national championship, and it’s 64 that’s trying to get there. So it’s way harder to win a national championship than the NBA championship’.”

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Bryant went on to explain how having players such as Shaq guarantees you to win an NBA championship. Moreover, an NBA series is seven games while college games have just one. Hence, there is no room for mistakes.

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Kobe didn’t experience college basketball as he came into the league from highschool. Do you think he would be able to win the NCAA championship if he went to college?

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Anuj Talwalkar

366 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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