Kobe doesn’t consider LeBron a rival

Kobe Bryant faced LeBron James on Sunday.

But to hear Bryant tell it, that’s no big deal.

“I get up for everybody just the same, to be honest,” he said. “It’s hard for me to turn my meter up any higher than it normally is.”

Bryant and the Lakers delivered a meaningful victory over James and the Miami Heat on Sunday. The 93-83 victory at Staples Center was a statement game for the Lakers before setting out on a three-game trip to Detroit, Washington and Minnesota that starts Tuesday.

But Bryant doesn’t think he and James are really rivals considering their generations don’t really overlap.

“At this point my rivals, in terms of what I have left to accomplish in my career, when Magic (Johnson) and Michael (Jordan) retired in ’98, that’s it,” Bryant said. “In terms of what I’m looking to accomplish, that’s about it.”

Bryant, 33, has five NBA championships, the same as Johnson and one fewer than Jordan.

About titles, Bryant said: “That’s what you set your goals at. Growing up, watching them, they always won multiple championships, and that was always something that I felt like must be done.”


   –In light of the NFL’s on-field bounty-hunting controversy, Lakers coach Mike Brown was asked if he ever provided monetary incentives to players. He said he had a bonus of $1,000 each month for drawing the most charges while he coached in Cleveland, but the NBA put a stop to it. Brown said Anderson Varejao was the consistent winner of the pot.
   –Kobe Bryant said Shane Battier hit him in the nose Sunday during the Lakers-Heat game, confirming to Bryant that it’s necessary to keep wearing the protective mask. Because Bryant has complained about the current mask being too hot and sweaty, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti is looking into getting a new mask through the maker of Richard Hamilton’s mask, according to The Orange County Register.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s a good friendship.” — Kobe Bryant about him and Miami’s Dwyane Wade.

   –F Metta World Peace came into training camp overweight, according to Lakers coach Mike Brown, but World Peace has gradually shed weight over the past three months. That showed in the agility he had stealing LeBron James’ pass in the other direction fast enough to get a transition dunk. World Peace finished with 17 points and four steals.
   –G Darius Morris has returned to his role as the lone inactive player on the game-day roster, with small forward Devin Ebanks back from the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Andrew Goudelock, drafted lower in the second round than Morris, is a member of the regular rotation, backing up Kobe Bryant. Goudelock sank two 3-pointers to stretch the Lakers’ lead Sunday in the second quarter against Miami.
   –C Andrew Bynum said referees watch him closely these days after he has drawn two NBA suspensions (for illegal contact to Michael Beasley and J.J. Barea) in recent seasons. Bynum said “people also blame me” for an incident that didn’t draw a suspension with Gerald Wallace, who suffered a collapsed lung.

   –G Kobe Bryant (nasal fracture) is playing through the injury.
   –G Steve Blake (costochaondral fracture) is playing through the injury.

   –Point guard Derek Fisher
   –Shooting guard Kobe Bryant
   –Small forward Metta World Peace
   –Power forward Pau Gasol
   –Center Andrew Bynum
   –Guard Steve Blake
   –Forward Matt Barnes
   –Guard Andrew Goudelock
   –Forward Troy Murphy