And the Dallas Mavericks point guard is obviously flattered to hear Bryant admit as much publicly, as Bryant did in late January.
But Bryant's recruiting efforts appeared especially strong Sunday, when he appeared on the Lakers sideline for the first time since his season-ending shoulder injury Jan. 21 -- just in time to watch Rondo's Mavericks beat the Lakers 100-93.
"When he speaks, it speaks volumes," Rondo said after finishing with eight points, nine assists, four rebounds and three turnovers. "It's an honor and a compliment that he'd want to play with a guy like me, but right now, I'm focused on winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks."
Would Rondo want to play with Bryant, who will enter his 20th, and likely final, NBA season in 2015-16?
"I'm focused on what I have to do right now," Rondo said. "It's impossible to play with Kobe right now."
Bryant hasn't shied away from his fondness for Rondo, whom he faced in two NBA Finals when Rondo played for the Boston Celtics.
"We get along extremely well," Bryant said after a shootaround in Boston in December. "We see the game in a similar fashion in terms of our aggressiveness and mindset. It was good to get together with him."
Bryant and Rondo were spotted having breakfast together at the Paramount in Beacon Hill when the Lakers were visiting Boston to face the Celtics in December.
Bryant playfully denied that the breakfast sit-down was a recruiting effort, but he told the Boston Herald in January he doesn't plan to stop recruiting Rondo even though Rondo is now playing for the Mavericks, a Western Conference contender.
"No way," Bryant told the Herald. "I'm not done. I'm not stopping until he signs an extension."
As for Bryant's bench presence, it didn't seem like it was his idea to return to the sideline.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said he spoke to Bryant before the team's recent, three-game trip and told him he wanted him at home games starting Sunday.
"I wanted him around," Scott said. "I like seeing him."
Scott said Bryant wouldn't attend road games, as the 36-year-old is still rehabbing his shoulder, but he does expect Bryant to attend all the Lakers' remaining home games.
"It was good to see him out here. Good to see him with this teammates," Scott said. "I'm sure it was good for the fans to see him, as well."