LeBron and Kobe typically face off only twice a year, and the hoops universe spends all of the other days debating the merits of both megastars. Prior to the big Lakers/Heat game tonight, James says he understands why the debate continues to rage. From Fox Sports: “The fans are going to have fun with it, who they like, who they dislike and who they like more than others,” James said about the running debate as he prepares for Thursday’s first meeting this season with Bryant. ‘And that’s what’s great about the game.’ After all, when James was growing up in Akron, Ohio, he had his NBA favorites. That was long before he became a legend himself. ‘I was a (Michael) Jordan guy, I was an Anfernee Hardaway guy and a Grant Hill guy as well at times,’ James said. ‘A lot of my friends liked other players. When I had Jordan, I said, ‘That’s my favorite player. There’s no way you can dispute that.’ The debate recently has been whether Bryant or James is today’s best player. Perhaps it’s not a fair comparison now considering Bryant is 33 and James just turned 27. Then again, who has a higher scoring average this season? That would Bryant, averaging an NBA-high 30.8 points while James is second at 29.8. ‘Kobe is playing some great basketball right now,’ said James, who sometimes guards Bryant and might due so more than usual Thursday due to Heat guard Dwyane Wade a good bet to miss the game with a sprained right ankle. ‘He’s shooting the ball extremely well, and that’s part of the reason why they’re winning (10-5) … He’s a great player. He’s kept his body in shape, so it’s not surprising (he’s still going strong at 33).’ Bryant recently had a stretch of four straight 40-point games. James is averaging 34.0 points in his past two, which includes a scintillating 17 points in the third quarter of Tuesday’s 120-98 win over San Antonio. So, who’s the top guy in the NBA? The debate will continue to rage when they meet again at AmericanAirlines Arena on Thursday. ‘It’s conversation,’ said Heat forward Chris Bosh. ‘It’s been like that in the NBA since the inception. Is it Bill Russell? Wilt Chamberlain? Kobe-Jordan? Kobe-LeBron? It just always goes on. It’s an ongoing argument. That’s what makes it so great. I’m sure there will be a few people with their Kobe jerseys on (Thursday). It’ll be a lot of trash talking.’”