Bryant is the figure who most clearly stands in the way of a title for Anthony. Asked to assess Anthony, Bryant says without hesitating, "I've always felt his game was sharp. Now the guys around him know how to play off him. I enjoy the competition with him. He's a tough matchup for everyone." It's generous praise, especially from a player who can be parsimonious in that regard. But when Anthony hears Bryant's assessment, he shifts uneasily and winces. It's clear: Kobe is on Mount Olympus, looking down from on high and surveying the landscape. "I don't want to compare myself to Kobe," says Anthony. "This is his 14th season. I got time. Will I win four rings? I don't know. But that's the future. I do know that I'm not even close to where I'll be. There's so much I can improve. And that's scary."
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