[Sports Illustrated]

It’s around this time every year that attentions naturally start to drift away from the slow development of the NBA season and toward more hypothetical matters. Some fiddle with the trade machine. Others have abstract arguments about this player or that, divorced from the context of a complete game and narrowed to a hyper-specific degree. Who is the best pure shooter? Who is the best clutch scorer? These are the questions that pass the time in the lull just before the trade deadline.

ESPN.com’s Chris Palmer brought one such hypothetical to Kobe Bryant for a response:

[Palmer]: You versus LeBron? Who wins?

[Bryant]: Me. No question. As far as one-on-one, I’m the best to ever do it.

[Palmer]: Damn. That’s pretty confident.

[Bryant]: LeBron is a terrific all-around, five-on-five basketball player who’s an all-time great. But I’d get him.