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The King vs. The Black Mamba

March 19, 2011 2 comments

Regular Season.

Career averages

James: 27.7 pts 7.0 rbs 7.0 asts

Bryant: 25.3 pts 5.1 rbs  4.6 asts

Career Highs

James: 31.5 pts (05-06) 7.9 rbs (07-08) 8.6 asts (09-10)

Bryant: 35.4 pts (05-06) 6.9 rbs (02-03) 5.9 asts (02-03)

In terms of averages LeBron James is a better player than Kobe Bryant. It’s important to note here though that Kobe has been in the NBA seven more seasons than LeBron has.

LeBron has always been the #1 option on his team through his whole career. The same cannot be said for Kobe. Kobe was the #2 to Shaq for during their three peat at the beginning of the decade, and when Kobe became the #1 option his numbers immediately increased and Shaq was traded to Miami.

LeBron plays the small forward in comparison Kobe playing the shooting guard. This result in LeBron having more opportunities to rebound the basketball, plus LeBron is bigger and stronger than Kobe.

LeBron and Kobe have played in completely different styles of offenses over their careers which is part of the reason for the disparity in points and assists averages between the two of them. LeBron during his time in Cleveland played in an offense based on him having the ball all the time and doing the work for the team, whether that being scoring or creating baskets for his team. Kobe has played most of his career with Phil Jackson as his coach who has an offense based a lot more off of movement instead of one person, no matter how great they are, creating everything for their teammates or themselves.

Award tallies (regular season)

James: 2 time MVP, 6 time All-star, 4 time All-NBA first team, 2 time All-defensive first team, 2 time All-star game MVP

Bryant: 1 time MVP, 12 time All-star, 8 time All-NBA first team, 8 time All-defensive first team, 3 time All-star game MVP

Playoffs

Career Averages

James: 29.3 pts 8.4rbs 7.3 asts (71 games: 42-29, %.591)

Bryant: 25.5 pts 5.2 rbs 4.8 asts (198 games: 125-73, %.631)

This is where statistics can lie. James statistically is superior to Bryant in every category, but Kobe has a better overall playoff record than James.

Bryant has played on far better teams than James has over his career which lead to his playing many more games in the playoffs than James. In the beginning of his playoff career he didn’t play much. Than Kobe began to play more when the Lakers had their three-peat in the beginning of the decade and was the #2 option to Shaq. Following Shaq’s departure Kobe has become the overwhelming #1 option for the Lakers, but over that period the Lakers didn’t make it out of the first round on two occasions. James has never lost a first round playoff series.

Both players have faced media scrutiny for giving up on their team at the end of playoff series where they were eliminated. James the past season against Boston and Bryant in 2006 against the Suns.

However, the difference between the two is results. The goal is to win the title. Bryant has won five NBA titles and James has won zero. Bryant has made it to seven NBA finals and James has made it to one; the only finals that James made it to his team was swept and the deficiencies in his game magnified.

In the end, Bryant has won when it matters most and LeBron hasn’t.

Conclusion

Who’s the better player? If you’re drafting a player for your fantasy basketball the choice is obvious, draft LeBron; however, non-fantasy speaking pick Kobe. Kobe has the respect of his peers as the best player in the NBA. When the game is on the line, who would you rather the ball? Kobe. Kobe has a wider variety of moves, is a better shooter from the field and from the line, has made more game winning shots.

Right now Kobe is better than LeBron; however over time this might change with LeBron on the Miami Heat. This debate will continue for years to come, especially if the Miami Heat win a title to make the comparison between the two more fair.

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