Kobe vs. D-Wade: Has Kobe Proven Wade Is Still in His Rear-View Mirror?

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has spent most of his career looking in the rear-view mirror when it comes to players who could match his skill level on a basketball court, but that opinion took a huge hit following the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

There had always been whispers that Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had already surpassed Bryant as better players, but those whispers became shouts following Kobe and the Lakers' disastrous performance against the Dallas Mavericks.

The eventual NBA champion Mavericks ended any talks of a three-peat and unceremoniously swept the Lakers out of the postseason, partially due to a less-than-inspiring 22 points per game from Bryant in the series.

It was more than the points though with Bryant, because for the first time in his career, it appeared that he was physically incapable of lifting his body or his team when it really mattered the most.

Many people assumed that Kobe had finally fell victim to Father Time and the rest of his career would be downhill from that point.

ESPN and the TrueHoop network even went as far to rank Bryant seventh on its list of the NBA's top 500 players, which seemed justifiable although it certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Well, Bryant's play so far during the 2011-12 season has raised a lot more eyebrows, and he has mostly shattered any doubt that he is still a top-five player.

And those assumptions that Wade and James have already jumped over Kobe as a player?

Let's just say it's much easier to make an argument for James.

Bryant leads the entire NBA in scoring and he also averages more minutes, points, rebounds and nearly the same number of assists as Wade.

Granted, it's easy to get lost in what has been a historic, MVP-type season by James, but that shouldn't overshadow the point that Bryant has produced better numbers than Wade and he's had m...

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