LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: Can We Even Have This Debate?

Can we even have this discussion, debating who is the NBA’s best player between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant?

On the surface, the answer is a resounding no. 

That’s because there is a clear winner. The personal scoreboard reads 5 to 0, in Kobe Bryant’s favor. For many fans, that makes all the difference, regardless of personal stats or regular season hardware.

And, let’s dispense right out the gate with the usual arguments. We all know them by heart. Kobe has better players around him. Or, put LeBron on the Lakers and watch what happens. Or, send Kobe to Cleveland and see if he even makes the playoffs.

All possibly valid points but really, haven’t they been beaten to death?

In the end, the cold hard fact is that the equation for the best player breaks down like this:

Talent + Rings = Greatness.

Fair or unfair, fortunately or unfortunately, that’s how it works, that’s how great players are judged.

All the legends have applied that formula. Kobe uses it today. And, given time, LeBron will, too.

But the real question to ask when comparing both Kobe and LeBron is this: Are they even an original, or simply a Xerox copy of legend? 

Let’s face it, Kobe is basically a China knock-off of Michael Jordan, and LeBron James is the closest thing to Magic Johnson the league has seen in 30 years.

In the case of Kobe, his copy of MJ is almost identical, you have to look really hard to see the differences. It’s like looking at two photos side by side and searching for what has been moved. 

Kobe’s resume speaks for itself. 81 points. 5 rings. Shaq glory and feud. Kobe’s been in our consciousness now since 1996. He was the fresh young star, the league’s new hope to replace Michael Jordan, fell from grace, and has risen like a phoenix again. 


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