Will Kobe Bryant Finish His Career with More Rings Than Michael Jordan?

Kobe Bryant has been chasing Michael Jordan—The Man, The Myth and The Legend—for more than 16 years now. Bryant has been compared to and measured against His Airness at nearly every turn, from his entry into the NBA as a precocious teenager out of Philadelphia, his first three-peat with the Los Angeles Lakers and to his more recent pursuits of glory on his own terms.

Not by accident, either. They're of similar size, play(ed) the same position, sport(ed) nearly identical playing styles and have dominated the game from the wing with a competitive fire rarely seen on the hardwood.

With one more lifting of the Larry O'Brien Trophy, Kobe will match Jordan's total of six championship rings. His odds of doing so are as strong as ever, now that the Lakers are back among the league's elite with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in tow. Even Kobe has said that these Lakers are the most talented bunch he's ever been around (via CBSLA.com), more so than the Shaquille O'Neal-centric outfit that went back-to-back-to-back in the early 2000s.

He's also been quite vocal about his impending retirement. He may well hang 'em up for good once his current contract with the Lakers comes due in 2014 (via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com). On paper, that should be enough time to equal MJ's jewelry collection, given the cast of characters that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak assembled this summer.

What are the odds, though, that Bryant does Jordan one better and rides off into the sunset with a seventh title on his Hall-of-Fame resume?

Two titles in two years is a tough task for anyone to pull off, even for a maniacal competitor like Kobe. He pulled that trick nearly three years ago, when he, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum topped the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics in consecutive NBA Finals.

But the landscape of the league has shifted rather dramatically since then. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh tou...

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