He is correct.
Kobe’s biggest rival was Shaq and they were on the same team. By the time Wade, Bron and these other guys got into the league, Bean had already played 7 years in the NBA.
Kobe never had a “Bird” or anyone like that.
If anything his rivalry is with the legacy of Michael Jordan more than anybody else.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan won four championships to Bryant’s five throughout their shared careers, but Bryant said while the Spurs might have qualified as a team rival to his Lakers, Duncan’s individual rivalry came against Shaquille O’Neal as a fellow big man.
“He was never in my position,” Bryant said. “He was more Shaq’s rival than mine. As a team, the Spurs were always a team that we had to go through. So from that standpoint, yes, but in terms of personally, no. I’ve outgrown them all, from A.I. (Allen Iverson) when I first came in to (Tracy) McGrady to Vince Carter and so forth and so on.“
OK, Bryant was asked, how about Dwyane Wade? After all, Wade plays shooting guard just as Bryant does, Wade has one Finals MVP trophy to Bryant’s two, and Wade has to be close to as competitive as Bryant or else he wouldn’t have given Bryant that hard foul across the face in the All-Star Game.
“He’s too young,” Bryant said. “He’s too young. When I came into the league, he was in elementary school.”