Three days ago Kobe Bryant told Sports Illustrated: "It's not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will, And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone" Kobe Bryant's other-wordly competitiveness never allows him to admit defeat until defeat is certain. You see, Kobe Bryant has conquered so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles that he views every challenge, no matter how long the odds, as still being possible. It is this supreme confidence in his ability to win and his strong desire not to lose that allows him to make such bold predictions that he himself truly believes in, even when no one else does. It was only two seasons ago that the Lakers found themselves down 3-0 to Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs and in the post-game interviews Kobe provided the following insight into his mentality: I don't know, I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that because I still think we're going to win this series. The fat lady had yet to sing and Kobe felt absolute confidence, bordering on self-admitted insanity, that he could permanently shut the fat lady up like he has every critic who ever doubted his ability. We all know what happened, though. The Lakers went on to lose the next game by 36 points. Series lost. Season over.