With the cult-like following that both these players have, this will be the question for ages to come. Both are arguably one of the best at their positions however, what if you had to chose one? Would you choose the 6’6” shooting guard from Lower Merion high school, or the 6’8” small forward from St. Vincent- St. Mary high school. In order to breakdown who this best, I wanted to make a criteria describing different skills that each possess and max out in.
– Titles: In order to win in the NBA, you need a great team and great leadership. Lebron has lead his teams to 8 NBA finals appearances and won three championships. Critics believe that James couldn’t do it on his own in Cleveland, so along with Bosh, Lebron went to join Wade in south beach and the rest is history. The same argument can made for Kobe. Shaq is considered to be the most dominant center in NBA history, Lakers won three from 2000 – 2002. The last two championships Kobe won the Lakers had the best team in the league with his sidekick Pau Gasol, and young Andrew Bynum, defensive specialist Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom coming off the bench. With that said Lebron has won three and Kobe won five.
– Passing: Even though I believe that Kobe is a underrated passer, I don’t think it is close in terms who a better passer is. Lebron average more career assists per game (7 to Kobe’s 4) and Lebron can play point forward because of his great ball-handling skills. Lebron reminds me of a refine Scottie Pippen when it comes to his ball-handling skills and better court vision. The edge goes to Lebron.
-Shooting: This one was really close, Lebron is a better finisher than Kobe, though my eye test Kobe was a better shooter. The stats show the advantage to Lebron: 50 percent from the field and 34 percent from the 3-point line. Kobe has never average 50 percent from the field, with a percentage of 44 percent. James takes better shots and because of his size and power he’s one the best finishers of all time. Bryant was a volume/ streaky shooter, when he got hot no one could stop him however, he took a ton of difficult shots in his career which hurt his overall shooting percentage.
-Defender: When he wanted to be, Kobe was a good defender, fundamentally sound. In his prime he could defend point guards all the way to small forwards. Very high IQ on both sides of the ball, underrated two way guard. In the Miami days Lebron was at his best defensively. Creator of the chase-down block, he could stop a fast break right in its tracks. One of his signature defensive prowess came in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals against Derrick Rose. D-Rose was cooking Mario Chalmers the whole game, fourth quarter, the team decided to put Lebron on him, Rose went 1- for – 10 and two turnovers. One of the best lockdown defensive performance I ever seen.
-Clutch: Lebron is an underrated clutch player, one that comes to mind is Game 2 in the Eastern Finals against the Magic. The game winning layup in the 06 playoffs against the Wizards. And who can forget Game 5 in the 2011 playoffs against the celtics when he scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter. As any great player he’s have some hiccups in games but he’s definitely have great performances in clutch time games. Kobe mentality in clutch was like an assassin, when the game was on the line even when he was playing with Shaq, you knew I was going to take the last shot. With a total of 36 career game winners, Bryant could score from the post with a fadeaway jumper to a 3-point shot. Kobe was a specialist in the 4th quarter.
In my opinion, Lebron is a better player than Kobe. I believe that Lebron will end his career as a top 10 player, as opposed to Kobe who I believe he’s nowhere near the top ten players of all-time. Kobe is a hall of famer but skillswise Lebron is superior. If you agree or disagree of my article let me know comment below.