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Kobe Bryant is in the stage of his career at which people start asking him for lists of things. He's already listed the top five players he's faced in his career, featuring such luminaries as Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Jordan's Bulls made Kobe's list of the top five toughest teams he's faced -- but neither team LeBron James has played for did. In no particular order:

San Antonio Spurs

Bryant/DuncanNoah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Sacramento Kings

Chris WebberJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Boston Celtics

Kobe BryantAP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Detroit Pistons

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Chicago Bulls

Kobe Bryant and Michael JordanVincent LaForet/AFP/Getty Images

The Bulls, sure. The Spurs, no surprise there. The Kings, though? Remember, during Kobe's championship days, the Kings featured Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Webber and others. Unsurprisingly, Kobe's got a long memory.

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Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

In his 20 NBA seasons, Kobe Bryant has faced a number of brilliant players: vets near the end of their careers, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton; fellow stars who entered the league around his time, such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; newer standouts such as Dwyane Wade and Stephen Curry.

None of those made his top five "toughest players to face" list. As relayed by our own Baxter Holmes, here it is:

Michael Jordan? No surprise. LeBron James? Not really either. Kevin Durant? When he's healthy, he's electric. And Hakeem Olajuwon? There's a reason they call him The Dream. The biggest surprise, perhaps, is Clyde Drexler -- but no one is about to claim he wasn't great.

The key point is the second thing Bryant told Holmes: It is hard to choose a top five from 1996 to 2015.

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Who was better -- Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan?

December 15, 2015
Dec
15

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Kobe Bryant is saying goodbye. Tim Duncan isn't -- but he surely will soon. (Right?)

Both players soared over their generational counterparts and won five titles each, albeit in different ways. Kobe flashy, Duncan subdued. Kobe with mountainous highs and abyssal lows, Duncan with a steady run that makes us wonder if he can keep this up for a few more years.

But who was better? Mike and Mike discussed in the video above -- pointing out that it's very hard to choose between the two.

Now it's your turn:

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Kobe Bryant is done at the end of this season, having announced his retirement via a poetic letter on The Players' Tribune on Sunday.

Even though this news is far from surprising -- the 37-year-old has been struggling for several seasons now -- the news of a legend's impending departure always shakes the foundation of sports.

Here is how some notable names reacted:

Post by Russell Simmons.

Meanwhile, off social media, Metta World Peace interacted with his longtime teammate the old-fashioned way: by getting his autograph.

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RussellDavid Dow/NBAE/Getty Images

D'Angelo Russell sent out a since-deleted tweet earlier this month, claiming that the talented-but-oft-injured Tracy McGrady "might have been the GOAT."

This raised eyebrows; after all, Russell's new Los Angeles Lakers teammate is Kobe Bryant -- himself an all-time great who gets labeled by some fans as the "best ever" (despite, you know, this guy).

Kobe himself responded, leading to a good-natured exchange between rookie and legend that has seemingly quashed any thoughts of bad blood.

All good in Laker Land? Well ...

This weekend the No. 2 overall pick spoke with the Los Angeles Daily News about his first offseason as a Laker, and that infamous tweet. Here's the key McGrady-related quote in a story that covers much more:

"There's a lot of spoiled Lakers fans. I wasn't downgrading Kobe at all. I was just watching a highlight tape of Tracy McGrady and I got excited. I tweeted and the whole state of California went crazy."

(Insert flushed emoji here.)

Now, it's hard to deny that fans of this franchise -- winner of 16 overall titles, 11 since moving to Southern California, five in the Kobe era and at least two during the lifetimes of pretty much anyone who's reading this -- have had it just a little bit good.

But if some Lakers fans went after him for the McGrady tweet, this might not exactly endear him to those same fevered supporters.

Then again, if he lives up to the hype, we're guessing they'll forgive it all.

H/T Los Angeles Daily News and Bleacher Report

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