These are the same fans who were treated to a few years of basketball gold when both Kobe and LeBron were at their prime playing against each other. Pitting them against one another is a fruitless yet valid exercise. It’s fruitless because it can end friendships. But it is valid since it’s a chance to appreciate their contributions to the basketball world.
LeBron James’ supreme strength has pretty much enabled him to literally walk into the paint for a layup or a monster dunk. His highlight reel is stuffed with defenders bouncing off him or trying to holding him back. But what’s good about James is that he’s added a bit more finesse to his game.
Over the past few years, he’s been utilizing a spin-move that effectively counters paint defenders who try to plant their feet firmly of the floor to absorb the contact. The result: James has become better inside scorer, probably the best in today’s game.
Analysts say that the art of the perimeter jump shot is long gone and outdated. Players nowadays jack up 3-pointers from literally every part of the floor. But when Kobe Bryant was still playing, he essentially killed his opponents with his mastery of the mid-range.
Mind you, Bryant had a pretty deep arsenal to get to his spots. He could work with a pick-and-roll with his big man, catch you off-guard with his signature two-dribble pull-up, beat you up in the post, or lure you into a thousand pump fakes. The ending, more often than not, is always the same: Kobe gets what he wants. And that’s the ball swishing the net.
Even when he was in high school doing work, what stood out about James’ game is his playmaking ability. When he stepped into the NBA, it became apparent that he was really a pass-first player. It is simply in James’ nature to look for his teammates first before looking to score for himself.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel wisely made James the team’s starting point guard which maximized his abilities. Prior to the 2019-20 season’s suspension, James had been logging in a career-best and a league-leading 10.6 dimes per game.
Technical Mastery (Footwork)
The most imperative ingredient to Bryant’s offensive prowess is his footwork. There’s not a lot of players in the NBA who put in the time to master this fundamental skill. Bryant’s opponents would always share that Kobe was never flashy. He was exercising basic basketball moves but what set him apart was that he has mastered each of them to the smallest detail. A closer look would reveal that Bryant never seemed to waste any dribbles or a single step. Everything seems to have its own purpose.
For casual basketball fans, nothing really happens on the defensive end of the floor. Steals are only exciting when they lead to a fastbreak opportunity. And for some reason, fans are in heady anticipation for the time when the best defensive player of the team will be posterized. But James somehow changed these sentiments when he started piling up the chase-down blocks. And these are not just fancy highlights. Note that James won a title because of his signature chase-down.
While James has a ton of defensive highlights, Bryant has a total of 12 NBA-All Defensive selections. This ranks second in the NBA history (tied with Kevin Garnett, just behind Tim Duncan’s 15 All-Defensive selections). This is decided upon by a panel of media people and NBA coaches.
This means that voters do not just look at the numbers in the stat sheets, but also how each player plays. On top of his offensive chores, Bryant has been known for wanting to defend the opposing team’s best player.
The NBA is comprised of the best athletes and basketball minds in the whole world. As such, games are often decided at the very last second. At the same time, there are only a handful of players who have proven time and time again that when the clock is running down and the game on the line, give them the ball and you have a high probability of winning.
Say the word ‘clutch’ to a basketball fan and one of the few names that will pop in their mind is the name ‘Kobe Bryant.’ This is a fact that’s not up for debate.
James’ photographic memory has been well-documented through the clip below as well as lots of testimonies from his teammates. Of course, memory is different from IQ. But James learned how to use his superhuman memory to something functional. There’s a big possibility that he knows every playbook of every team in the NBA. As such, he knows how to attack and counter-attack them at every given point in time.
James has a total of four MVP trophies in his crib. Prior to the 2019-20 season’s suspension, he was en route to possibly adding a fifth MVP trophy. This proves how much of a polarizing figure James has been all throughout his career. Coaches, analysts, and players themselves have said time and time again. Whatever jersey James is wearing, that team is bound to be a contender.
While Bryant has a total of five and James has three, this matter is still up for debate in the Kobe vs LeBron convo. After all, James is still playing. Including the 2019-20 season, James still has three years left with the Los Angeles Lakers. This will likely be the last three seasons of his career. And in the event that the 2019-20 season continues, James has a pretty good shot of winning his fourth title.
Kobe vs LeBron… who you got?