Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  46 responses

LeBron James Doesn’t Mind Comparisons to Kobe Bryant

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.’”

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  • http://tempdog1 Tempest

    Bosh knows what’s up

  • Boogieman

    Count the RINGS KOBE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5……LeBron 0……the King wears a crown with NO BLING…….BTW I don’t think he will ever see the number 1 he’s just not that type of player…..can you say Barkley, Malone and Ewing just add James to the Greatest who may never get a ring…..better be glad you’re getting married…lol

  • Jono

    LeBron James = 2nd greatest player of all time (behind Jordan of course)

  • Justin G.

    Just not that type of player? That’s ridiculous. Barkley, Malone, and Ewing just happened to play in the same era as Michael Jordan otherwise they would have rings too. Well, maybe not Ewing. And James is not the second GOAT…not even close…yet.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    oh lawd

  • Yeaa

    Im a big laker fan and not a big fan of lebron but i still think he will win a championship with their current roster that was 2 wins away from 1. Only reason i dont like lebron is cause he dissapears when it really matters in the playoffs. He doesnt have the killer instinct that continually dissapointed me when i was a fan of his. Even though kobe hogs the ball, he still won and would always take a challenge head on. 95% of the time
    He’d take that winning shot. Lebron can be the GOAT if he stops choking. Itll get harder for him when okc, bulls and clippers figure out how to beat wade’s team.

  • Conor O.

    Jordan has said that Bryant is the only modern player worthy of comparison with him because he is the only one who works hard enough. So… There’s that…

  • stlheatmaniac

    Jono i agree with you. but i must say give him more time to convince the haters and morons. everybody wanna scream no rings like he been on a good team before coming to Miami. he just had the bad luck of spending most of his career on shytty teams even tho his talent alone allowed his teams to go way further than wat they were suppose to. Cleveland is a disgrace and LJ put there names on the map. Kobe had a good team on LA almost every yr that he was there plus he is an amazing player so they won chips. plain and simple. MJ never won a chip till he was surrounded by good players too. its LJ’s time now. he will win plenty rings for u morons. he just 27 so lets see how many rings he will b counting with the heat by the time his career is over

  • Mooney10

    Lebron is a better player than Kobe stats wise, rings are a team thing, and Lebron now has the team to do it. Let’s not forget he got to the finals his first year with a new team, Heat win tonight by 12 or more, even without Wade

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Cough* Brian Scalabrine *Cough

  • J.C.


  • KenboJay

    you 90s babies kill me..KOBE is the second G.O.A.T….can someone really tell me why LBJ deserves that title plz cause i’m lost..once LBJ looses his athletic abilities will he still be the 2nd G.O.A.T the answer is NO!! smdh

  • KING

    @Stlheatmaniac don’t give me that bull, when lebron was on the cavs every year they were supposed to be the champs but it never happened. He had a good team he just face the fact that he cannot really lead a team that’s why he came to miami to play with a player that has the killer instinct and relishes clutch moments in d-wade. I hate kobe with a passion but its because he always killed the heat in the past I hate bron even more(still a heat fan) because he simply can’t get it done in the clutch. If you are the GOAT you have to deliver. I would take kobe and wade over lebron any day of the week because they know how to win

  • Eric

    Winning a ring is a team effort. You can’t compare a team to a player. Why is that so hard for folks to wrap their heads around? No one has made the claim that Lebron is, or has been on great teams, just that he’s a great player. And he is.And if it’s simply about counting rings then doesn’t that make Robert Horry greater than both Jordan and Kobe? He has seven after all.

  • Brion


  • Maniac

    LOL Kobe is the greatest player to play in the NBA since Mike retired (2nd or 3rd time, you choose) until proven otherwise. LeBron is probably the best player today. End of discussion.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ exactly. move on people.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    A very strong case could be made for TD and Shaq but I won’t go there.

  • Pais

    did anyone else catch Sekou’s ludicrous article on NBA.com (hang time blog) yesterday? He went on a tirade about Kobe and Jordan being so arrogant etc. It was completely lambasted by literally hundreds of people. I’ve since looked for it and can’t find a trace of it anywhere.

  • Pais

    co-sign maniac

  • Maniac

    JTaylor21 I agree that a case could be made for Shaq and Timmy, but not very strong. A case could be made for Magic and Larry over Mike, but very few people go there…

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Depends if your talking about greater or better.

  • 23

    lebron has taken over games in every concievable way. he has had monter defensive performances, cleaned the boards, dished out assists for the whole game, of course hes had his 50 point games. plus he has closed out numerous games in his carreer. people just remember his worst moments moreso than his great ones. kobe has never dominated games with his court vision and passing. not because he cant, but because hes a scorer first by nature. lebron is not. diff styles of game. kobe mirrored his game after mj. lebrons game is versatility.

  • Maniac

    nbk my definition of greater is = my definition of better in some sense.

  • Dorraj

    ^23 knows what’s up. Best comment I’ve seen.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Well we’ve haD this conversation numerous times, Shaq over his career > Kobe. Same with Duncan. Atleast imo. But Kobe is obviously more skilled and literally a better basketball player then both, just doesn’t have the same effect on the team. Not even close

  • http://www.slamonline.com Real Player
  • http://www.slamonline.com Real Player

    nbk, Shaq led the Lakers to a 3 peat.He had Kobe of course. Duncan never led a team to the finals 3 straight times. Kobe did,getting 2 of 3,without a Shaq. And as a Lakier Kobe has 7 finals appearances and 5 rings. Thats more than Shaq or TD on any of their teams. What is your logic or evidence behind Shaq or TD’s career being superior to Kobe’s?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Real Player

    @ 23 “lebron has taken over games in every concievable way.” – Outside of the finals. All those things you mentioned, are true he has done them, just not when it matters most.

  • Maniac

    I just know that at this very point in time, Kobe is the 4th greatest/best player of all-time imo. Sometimes my order slightly switches, but my top 10 goes:

  • http://www.uhlife.com/basketball/profile.aspx?PlayerID=3356&SeasonDivisionID=30 nbk

    • 2000: 38.0 pts, 16.7 reb, 2.3 ast, 2.67 blk, .611 FG%
    • 2001: 33.0 pts, 15.8 reb, 4.8 ast, 3.40 blk, .573 FG%
    • 2002: 36.3 pts, 12.3 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.75 blk, .595 FG%

  • shem

    This is a mute conversation…waste of a debate!

  • http://www.uhlife.com/basketball/profile.aspx?PlayerID=3356&SeasonDivisionID=30 nbk

    Tim Duncan: the Spurs own the best winning percentage since he arrived of any team in any professional sport. And he didn’t spend even one second of his career with another top 10 all time player. (Not too mention how much more of a force Duncan was on defense then Bryant ever came close to being, and the fact that he has 4 titles as the best player on a team, to Kobe’s 2) — There are a ton of other reasons, but those are the most obvious. I am not getting into a big ass debate today though.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    it is a “moot” conversation.
    That’s the word you’re looking for. “Mute” would mean silent.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And people really don’t appreciate the gap between Duncan and Kobe as defenders.
    The gap is huge. It’s a chasm and I don’t care how many all defensive team nods Kobe has received.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Bowen’s Bowtie Collection

    Nbk and allenp see the truth. Tim and shaq were the main pieces throughout their careers. Is tim the best two way player of all time? Maybe hakeem was better.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It’s close.

  • Maniac

    Kobe is one of the five or seven greatest perimeter defenders of all-time. Duncan
    is an all-time great frontcourt defender. End.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk


  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Kobe isn’t one of the five or seven best perimeter defenders of his own generation.

  • Maniac

    OK lol. I said what I said.

  • Maniac

    In no order, my top 5 is Scottie, MJ, Cooper, Moncreif, and Kobe. Respect to Bowen and West as well.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Real Player

    nbk: The 98/99 chip needs an * next to it. Imo Being only a 50 gm season it’s hardly comparable in legitimacy to ANY other recent chip. Then there’s the issue of who the real leader of that team was. The Admiral and TD were dub’d the “twin towers” for a reason their #’s were earily similar. In 96 D-ROB was put on the list of 50 greatest NBA players OAT, as well as a future HOF’er. So who the Leader, or “best” player on “that” team was is debatable. Also given the fact that Tony Parker was the finals MVP in 08′ not Tim, from flip’ to chip TD has only unquestionably been “that guy” twice. If both Kobe’s and TD’s careers ended in 08′ maybe tims could be seen as superior, but since then he really hasn’t done squat meanwhile Kobe’s added 1 more to his ring count than Tim.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Tim Duncan has unquestionably been the best player on 4 championship teams. Best defender, best or second best offensive player. Still the best overall player, without a doubt. And finals MVP speaks to 4 wins, it doesnt change who the best player on a team is. Nobody says James Worthy was the best Laker. Joe Dumars the best Piston. Or Tony Parker the best Spur.

  • One

    A GMs survey showed Kobe is one of the best perimeter defenders

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