John Cena Mocked Kobe Bryant’s ‘Selfish’ On-Court Tendencies to His Face in LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal’s Presence

Published 05/30/2022, 10:00 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant was among the greatest players to ever step foot on a basketball court. His unbelievable scoring tendencies and impressive accomplishments speak for themselves. Many, though, dubbed him a “selfish” player. There were instances when he had to be that guy and other instances when he just wanted to be. Whatever the cause, it all stems from Kobe’s belief that he was the best player on the court.

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Bryant honestly thought that he had a superior talent to everyone else on the court, therefore, he wanted to take as many shots as possible. Fans knew it was going to be a Mamba night the moment Kobe stepped on the gas pedal.

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Several people, however, misunderstood that conquering mindset for a selfish one. Hilariously, the Lakers legend has also been mocked by WWE Superstar John Cena for his “selfish” on-court tendencies.

John Cena hosted the 2016 ESPY Awards, which were attended by several sports personalities including LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Kyrie Irving, and other athletes. Cena, who is not a comic like the previous presenters, surprised everyone with his wit and charm throughout his monologue. The wrestler was handing out ruthless roasts all night. Even luminaries like Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant were not immune to this roasting by Cena in his monologue.

“Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning’s final games had a few things in common: Unforgettable and almost no passing,” Cena said.

Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning’s final games

Fair to say, the comparison is quite legit. Peyton Manning’s last game came in 2015 in Super Bowl 50. Manning, at 39, appeared to be a pale shell of the NFL legend fans knew. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 141 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, two fumbles (one lost), and was sacked five times. However, his teammates came through for him, as Manning’s Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, allowing him to finish on top.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to the crowd after the AFC Championship football game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO on Jan 24, 2016. Mark J. Rebilas—USA Today Sports/Reuters

Kobe Bryant’s last game was truly one to remember. His final game was so perfect and extraordinary that those who witnessed it will cherish it for the rest of their lives. Bryant produced 60 points and nailed the game-winning jumper with 31.6 seconds remaining in his farewell game. He was responsible for 15 of the Lakers’ last 17 points. In the pivotal quarter, Mamba outscored his opponent 23-21.

To cap off the fairytale finish, Bryant spearheaded the Lakers to a 101-96 triumph over the Utah Jazz in his 1,346th and final game. His final game definitely lacked the passing as he took 58.8 percent of his team’s 85 shots.

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This was the most proportion of his team’s shots he had ever attempted in a game, even more than when he dropped 81 points. In conclusion, Kobe’s farewell outing was just so Kobe.

Bryant’s self-belief propelled him to the pinnacle of success

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All the elite athletes in any sport have it. Undoubtedly, Kobe’s idol, Michael Jordan, had it; the unwavering confidence that you’re the best player on the planet.

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Kobe Bryant’s conviction drove him to 5 NBA championships, 15 All-NBA teams, two Finals MVPs, 12 All-Defensive Teams, and two scoring crowns, among several other accomplishments.

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It occasionally annoyed people. It even upset commentators throughout his career. But without that unwavering faith and confidence, Kobe would never have become the Black Mamba that we all knew and loved.

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Ritvik Malhotra

353 articles

Ritvik is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University, Ritvik has finally got his foot in the door as a professional sports writer. He previously interned at another media house where he authored over 150 soccer articles, but he is now writing about his primary obsession, basketball.

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