Throughout his 19-year career, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has taken a certain amount of glee in playing the role of villain, of wearing the black hat. Or in this case, mask.
With the latest, and possibly most hotly anticipated, Star Wars film releasing in theaters in a little more than a day, Kobe Bryant was asked for his opinion on the films after the Lakers' practice on Wednesday. After saying that "of course" he was a fan of the legendary sci-fi series and that he was excited for the latest installment, Bryant was asked which character from the films he would compare himself to.
"Darth Vader of course," Bryant said, in reference to the iconic villain turned hero of the original trilogy. "But I don't take orders from the emperor. It would be like 'Darth Emperor,' maybe."
This is not the first time Bryant has compared himself to Vader. When returning from his torn Achilles in 2013, Bryant took the floor to "the Imperial March," or Darth Vader's theme music:
Fans were comparing the two as early as 2010, with this video combining footage of Bryant and the Lakers with the audio of the movie trailer for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The comparison isn't a terrible one. Both underwent severe physical injuries and are essentially more machine than man, and both were willing to win at all costs. Kobe may be on to something here.
Bryant wasn't the only one talking Star Wars. The rookie whom Bryant's Darth Vader is trying to teach the ways of the dunking on Dwight Howard side of the force, Larry Nance, Jr., was asked to make some Star Wars comparisons of his own:
Larry Nance Jr. on Star Wars - Kobe is Yoda, Nick Young is Jar Jar Binks— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) December 16, 2015
Larry also said John Black would be The Emperor. JB smiled. https://t.co/2lcMBUQTul— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) December 16, 2015
So if I'm reading this right, Nance, Jr. thinks Kobe is 900 years old, Nick Young is an animated caricature widely considered the worst part of the franchise, and the Lakers' longtime PR head is a Machiavellian dark side user only concerned with acquiring more power. This rookie really knows how to compliment his co-workers!
Quotes transcribed via LakersNation's YouTube video.