Kobe Bryant says ... he knows there are NBA stars who refused to play for the Lakers because they couldn't handle Mamba's ego ... but Kobe says the team didn't need those players anyway.
Bryant just opened up to GQ ... saying, "Does my nature make me less enjoyable to play with? Of course."
When specifically asked if his ego has deterred top talent from joining the Lake Show -- he replied, "Of course it does. Is it possible that some top players in the league are intimidated by that? Yes. But do I want to play with those players? Does the Laker organization want those specific players? No."
He adds, "Magic. Jordan. Bird. We all would have been phenomenal teammates. This organization wants players who will carry this franchise to another five or six championships. The player who does that has to be cut from the same cloth. And if they’re not cut from that cloth, they don’t belong here."
In the issue, Bryant was also brutally honest about his relationship with former coach Phil Jackson -- saying, "He understood the dynamic he had to deal with between me and Shaq. So he would take shots at me in the press, and I understood he was doing that in order to ingratiate himself to Shaq."
"And since I knew what he was doing, I felt like that was an insult to my intelligence. I was like, ‘F**k him. I’m out here busting my ass. I’m killing myself.’ And it became insulting."
"Yet at the same time, it drove me at a maniacal pace. Because either consciously or unconsciously, he put a tremendous amount of pressure on me to be efficient, and to be great, and to be great now."