Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? It is a discussion that everyone has no matter who you are a fan of. Theres no doubt that LeBron is the better player today, but the question remains as to who takes the all time crown. Now let me start off by saying that I will not be basing this off of solely the number of championships Kobe has, because LeBron has not been in the league long enough, nor has he had as many opportunities as Kobe.
Here are a couple of common misconceptions and how I will quickly like to respond:
"Oh, it's not the same, LeBron left, Kobe has been a Laker forever and stuck with it"
WRONG. If you do not remember, or have washed it out of your head, I will bring it back for you.
This is an article from 2007 in where Kobe Bryant said he would welcome a trade from the Lakers (it was being reported he would go to the Bulls). The Lakers built around him, giving him a still good Ron Artest (now the not so good Metta World Peace) and a very good Pau Gasol to put with Bynum on the quest for back to back championships. The Lakers knew that Kobe would leave because superstars want to win. So they brought a team to him similar to what Boston did around Pierce in 2007.
Now the Cavaliers knew the exact day LeBron's contract was up. They had a chance to get Amare from Pheonix, but chose to bring in an older and not as good Antwan Jamison. They brought in old guy after old guy and a washed up Shaq, and LeBron did everything in his power to win but couldn't. He looked out, and saw a good opportunity in Miami, saw Dan Gilbert wasn't giving him something to work with, and went to the better opportunity. Just like Kobe would have done if the Lakers didn't bring him Pau.
"LeBron should have stuck it out in Cleveland"
WRONG. After his first 2 years, where the Cavs were terrible (he wasnt, the team was pathetic) LeBron led the Cavs to 2 50 and 2 60 win seasons. He took the Cavaliers to the finals with Shannon Brown (Rookie), Daniel Gibson (Rookie), Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Big Z, Damon Jones, Dwayne Jones, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, Sasha Pavlovic, Scot Pollard, Eric Snow, Anderson Varejao (2nd year) and David Wesley. That team was not the best team unless LeBron was out of his mind.
LeBron James made a business decision for himself because he knew that none of the above men could take him to greatness. Nobody has ever done it alone. Again, Kobe had Shaq and then Pau, Jordan had Pippen, Pierce, KG, Ray Allen all needed each other. Even guys like Magic and Bird needed help. Hell, John Stockton and Karl Malone did not even win 1 together. LeBron knew he could not do it alone, and in order to get to the top he needed to go down to South Beach, Chicago, or New York and Miami just happened to be the choice. The point is, he could not do it in Cleveland.
"LeBron James is not the same player Kobe is"
WRONG again! KOBE is not the same player LEBRON is. Kobe Bryant is a pure scorer. You put the ball in his hands and he is going to score. Give it to him in the big shot and he will knock it down more times than he wont. He went for 81 on Toronto one night, and could go for 40 anytime he wants. Kobe is the definition of a scorer, but he also molded his game after Jordan. EVERYTHING is like Jordan. Think its a coincidence he wear 24? He wants to be better than Michael. The jumpshots look the same, Michael stuck his tongue out, Kobe thinks he has an underbite. Kobe has done a GREAT job molding his game after an all time great, but LeBron James created his own game. Some may say Magic was like this, but LeBron at times looks like a different species. He is 6'8 260, no fat whatsoever, and is stronger AND faster than almost everyone. He goes for 25-10-8 every single night and has been playing almost year round. He is the most physically dominating player in any sport besides maybe Adrian Peterson, and that is close.
I do not want to look based solely on numbers, or youtube clips, because you will show me Kobe scoring 81, and I will show you this:
And then you will tell me that Kobe averages 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists a game for his career on 45% from the field and I will tell you back that LeBron averages 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists a game for his career on 49% from the field with that number over 50% for the last 4 years.
But Kobe is a better 3 point shooter says all the people who are still holding to their purple and yellow blanky, Kobe is 33.7% from 3 in his career, and LeBron is only at 33.4%.
In close, there is no doubt that Kobe is an all time great. I just believe that LeBron is better. He is now, and he will be all time.