As a 22 year-old guy soon to be 23 I can not think of two players in the NBA who are debated over and compared with one another in my generation more than Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
I honestly feel privileged too even have such great stars battle for who should be considered the best NBA player currently and possibly considered the greatest NBA player too play the game by future generations.
As of now the debate between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in my mind at least has seemed too screech to a stop.
With Kobe Bryant winning a title as well as MVP honors and LeBron James falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals but coming away with an MVP honor for the season, you could say that Kobe Bryant has dwarfed LeBron's accomplishments when you look at the here and now but there is no denying that James is itching for a championship and probably feels as if he's only a step away.
Unfortunately the same pleading for better players that Kobe was successful with hasn't exactly worked in the same manner for Lebron James.
In 2007 LeBron James and the Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals too play a very tough San Antonio team and seemed as if they brought their own very formidable team to match-up with the Spurs but just couldn't quite take care of a battle tested Spurs team who finished the regular season with a 45-6 record.
Meanwhile after many disappointing attempts at reaching the Finals, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers faced a revamped Boston Celtics team a year later in 2008.
This was thier first time reaching the Finals since 2002 and many have blamed their lack of success too the trade of ONeal with the Heat in 2004 for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a future first-round draft pick.
Lamar Odom would emerge from this trade as a key wing man for Kobe and Bryant would later be awarded with his present key squad members of Trevor Ariza, Sasha Vujacic, Andrew Bynum, their offensive conductor Derek Fisher, and Paul Gasol who has become a very productive center piece offensively and is no slacker defensively either.
All these players with the exception of Bynum who was slated to be an all star center but only has been vastly improving as of late, have helped Kobe greatly on his journey to capture another title since he enjoyed back to back championships with his partner in crime Shaquille O'Neal in 2001 and 2002.
Fortunately after rumblings of Kobe leaving the Lakers he was given Pau Gasol in 2007 and the rest is history. The move by the Lakers now almost leaves some Lakers fans asking, Who was Shaq again? Serve's Shaq right for messing with Kobe.
LeBron James hasn't been fortunate enough to land a big piece such as Shaq but his team has done well enough none the less with their own recent key addition in Moe Williams who has provided the team a great lift as well as others over the years who have seemed to complete the puzzle for now.
Can another piece get them over the hump or is the team ready for a title now? The Cavaliers have been perennial playoff contenders since the hiring of now Coach of the Year honoree Mike Brown in 2005.
He led the Cavs to their first playoff berth since the 1998 season and hasn't allowed his team to miss the playoffs since. Lebron automatically became named the savior when drafted first overall in 2003 by a franchise who desperately needed one and had run into some lean years before his arrival.
In 1996 Kobe Bryant entered the League to play with the Lakers and lucky for him the Lakers also brought along ONeal through free agency. The Lakers had success but not until Phil Jackson came into the picture in 1999 did they go on to capture a three-peat in his first three seasons.
So now that I've brought you up to speed I'll further my question from before. Could a key piece such as Shaq himself be the missing answer? Even though my first name means prophet I never have been one to fortune tell so I'll let the PTI guys debate that one for now.
Now while Kobe did not receive an MVP title until the 2007-2008 season he did earn his first All-Star spot two seasons after his arrival in the NBA as well as did LeBron within his first two seasons.
While LeBron is chasing his accomplishments the more playoff tested Kobe Bryant has won his fourth title plus an NBA Finals MVP award and all after a previous NBA MVP season. This irony between the MVPer's reminds me of a little brother and big brother scenario with Kobe proving this year that if it wasn't known before he is the much bigger brother.
In my opinion this scenario will continue until Kobe Bryant can mention his name among the other great Hall of Famer's because at this pace he is certainly headed there. There is a notion out there that Kobe is some "ball hog" and since his assist numbers from this past season were ranked 37th in the NBA that name calling seems justified.
When a player with Kobe's caliber scores at will and gives defenses nightmares on the court, is that derogatory term within the basketball world really justified? It isn't any more for Kobe Bryant as he showed us all why he wanted a Gasol so badly.
More than just stats, Kobe and LeBron have showed me athleticism that is often beyond belief and a knack to fight for their team when it really counts.
Despite the accusations of being blessed with superstar players, Phil Jackson's Zen-like abilities as a coach are undeniable and Kobe certainly owes his ring to him as I believe if LeBron is patient enough will to another very good but certainly soon to be incredible coach in Mike Brown someday.
The athleticism of the two have excited us in different ways with Kobe's cunning way of moving like a snake as he strikes his victims with a deadly shot or dunk and Lebron's ferocious way of clearing his path to the lane with a monstrous dunk of his own and as of late even a heroic game-winning shot or two.
The elder Kobe says to LeBron, "man I've been making those shots for years, nice to see you've caught up!"
In all seriousness the 24 year-old LeBron has improved aspect's of his game such as his shot greatly in recent years but the old soul of 30 year-old Kobe always just seems a step ahead.
It has definitely been a privilege too watch these two entertain us so well and kids of the '90s should be privileged too have been a "witness" too LeBron's arrival in the NBA.
His decision too accompany Kobe Bryant in the NBA has of late, turned into one of the best no relation sibling rivalries among great talent's we could have asked for. Those Nike MVP Puppets wouldn't have it any other way.