Kobe Bryant feeding off of ESPN ranking, Michael Jordan’s comments

The Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan comparisons took another turn, and it went beyond Phil Jackson writing about them in a book or basketball fans endlessly debating about them.

Jordan threw himself in the conversation by sharing he openly imagines playing against NBA legends in their prime, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and, of course, Bryant.

Jordan threw the famed Laker a compliment. Sort of.

“I don’t think I’d lose other than Kobe Bryant because he steals all my moves.” Jordan said in an interview promoting the video game, NBA2K14.

To which Bryant responded on Twitter.

“Domino effect. I stole some of his … this generation stole some of mine. Bryant then added the hashtag, #thecycle.

How would that Bryant-Jordan one-on-one game play out?

“He’s about 50 years old. It would be a hard time now,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Jordan before laughing. “Back then? I don’t know. He’s one of the greatest, if not greatest player. It would be fun to watch him play, that’s for sure. But I have no clue.”

Assuming he returns from injury, Bryant will likely eclipse Jordan this season for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Jordan (32,292) has only 675 more career points than Bryant (31,617). When Bryant surpasses that mark, plenty of comparisons will arise. It will again should Bryant match Jordan’s championship ring total (six).

As if Bryant needs any more motivation. He posted a Tweet on Tuesday, saying, “12th” in reference to the ranking ESPN gave the Lakers out of 15 Western Conference teams.

“It’s not like everyday we say something, but it’s there,” D’Antoni said of the pre-season ranking. “We know what we have to prove and what we’re trying to battle. But it’s fodder for a half hour. Then we go on with it.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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