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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: October 18, 10:29 AM ET
Kobe likens self to Floyd Mayweather

ESPN.com news services

Kobe Bryant often is compared to some of the greatest players in NBA history.

But in what he describes as "the last chapter" of his storied career, Bryant hopes to mirror someone who has never played professional basketball -- Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant hopes to mirror the late-career success of boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The 35-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star, who is attempting to bounce back from Achilles surgery, compared himself to Mayweather in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

"Maybe I won't have as much explosion," Bryant told the magazine. "Maybe I'll be slower, maybe I'll lose quickness. But I have other options.

"It's like Floyd Mayweather in the ring. There's a reason he's still at the top after all these years. He's the most fundamentally sound boxer of all time. He can fight myriad styles at myriad tempos. He can throw fast punches or off-speed punches, and he can throw them from odd angles."

Mayweather, 36, remained unbeaten in 45 career fights with his victory last month over Canelo Alvarez.

Bryant suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in April and also is nursing an injured right knee. The Lakers have not provided a timetable for when the former MVP will return to game action.

Bryant, who is entering the final year of his contract, acknowledged to Sports Illustrated that his career is nearing its end.

"It's the last chapter,'" Bryant told Sports Illustrated. "The book is going to close. I just haven't determined how many pages are left."

Bryant averaged 27.3 points per game last season before injuring his Achilles on April 12. The 15-time All-Star conceded to Sports Illustrated that he has "self-doubt" about his ability to return at a high level.

"I have self-doubt," he said. "I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.'

"We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it. You rise above it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.