Kobe Bryant Not Ready to ‘Pass the Torch’ to Younger NBA Stars

Kobe Bryant is in his 15th season in the NBA, but he still has the mindset and the competitive drive of a player in his fifth.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bryant isn't yet ready to "pass the torch" to some of the younger players in the NBA. Reporters asked Bryant about a postgame conversation with Chicago guard Derrick Rose after the Lakers beat the Bulls last month, curious if there was a trace of symbolism to their chat.

"Oh, sure," Bryant said. "But I ain't passing [expletive]."

Bryant did say, however, that Rose could try and steal the torch from him, if he was able.

All joking aside, Bryant knows how talented Rose is. He saw it when Rose put up 30 points and eight assists in a Chicago loss to the Lakers in November. Bryant's competitive edge, though, will never die no matter how old he is.

"I just told him to stay healthy and continue the job he's doing," Bryant said of their postgame chat. "I don't think you can develop [a killer instinct]. You either have it or you don't. He's had it since he was in high school.That quality separates players I think. With players of equal ability, it's about the engine you have inside. It certainly gives him an edge"

The Lakers and the Bulls square off again on Friday, where Rose will have another chance to swipe Kobe's torch.

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