LeBron James and Kobe Bryant: Enough Is Enough

Chris SandersonCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2010

SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 05:  Kobe Bryant #10 and LeBron James #6 of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team sit on the bench during the USA Basketball International Challenge exhibition game against the Australia National Team at the Qizhong Arena on August 5, 2008 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images)
MN Chan/Getty Images

Most of us have lost count of how many Lebron v Kobe articles we have read. In a day and age where people demand answers for every question that can be pondered, you can understand the constant debate surrounding the melodrama that is Lebron v. Kobe.

There are hundreds of articles written every year on the great debate; many of them on this site. While some people can't get enough of Lebron v. Kobe, it is becoming increasingly obvious that most basketball fans have had enough of the nonsense.

The main problem is not in the articles themselves, but in the heated debates that arise in the various comment sections that follow these articles.

Lebron James and Kobe Bryant fans are without a doubt the most passionate fans in all of basketball, and usually to love one means to hate the other.

The majority of articles on this popular debate are written from a point of view as a fan of one player or the other, and the inevitable bias is infused in the article; regardless of how objective the author attempts to be in his writing.

This of course pours fuel on the already raging bonfire these constant articles have built, and leaves even the calmer and more rational fans frustrated as the debate usually degenerates into a hate fest.

The responses between antagonists tend to range from rather benign comments to flat out death threats and everything in between. Some of the most emotionally charged and vulgar comments can be read at the bottom of any Lebron v. Kobe article.

Many knowledgeable basketball fans will spend hours typing out eloquent and insightful comments only to have a fellow expert hit them back with all the reasons why they are wrong, and hence, know nothing about basketball.

Some hardcore Lebron fans will bring up issues like Kobe's infamous rape case, and conversely, some Kobe fans will rant about Lebron's supposed bad sportsmanship or the alleged tanking against Boston in the 09/10 playoffs. 

The problem is Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are two very different players, with completely different strengths and also different weaknesses. For every judicious comment stating exactly why player A is better than player B, someone will inevitably be able to come up with a counter argument, and the cycle is potentially endless.

Lebron James is a freak of nature, with more physical resemblance to Dwight Howard than Kobe Bryant. Lebron has 2 inches and 45lbs on Kobe , and while they are both impressive specimens, Lebron is a tank and Kobe is more like a sports car.

The X factor that really makes Lebron stand out from the crowd is his explosiveness, which largely comes from his genetically superior physique and his supreme athletic ability. This is not a knock on Lebron. He is simply using his god given talents to the maximum of his ability.

Kobe is different. He does not have the god given gifts that Lebron possesses and has had to develop his game in a different way. Sure Kobe is both quick and strong for a shooting guard, however not in a manner that makes him stand out from his colleagues. After all, he is playing in the world's elite basketball league.

What makes Kobe stand out from the crowd is more mental than anything else. He has a great crossover; an amazing mid range game and excellent on ball defense, but what makes him really stand out is that ultra rare mentality of winning at all costs, shared by some of the legends of the game like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

It is the mentality of a killer, and combined with his immense basketball IQ, it is what really sets Bryant apart from the rest, and has propelled him to greatness.

A younger afro sporting Kobe also relied on his impressive athletic ability, however in a different manner to Lebron; as while Lebron goes through and sometimes over players, Kobe would find ways to get around them.

As Bryant has aged his game has changed, and his exploits around the rim have been replaced by a solid mid range and perimeter game, and a stronger understanding of what is required from him to help his team win.

This is another reason why Lebron and Kobe should not be compared.

Lebron is still in the highlight reel phase of his game, and no doubt a player of his magnitude will develop and strengthen his game over time, and more importantly, gain the knowledge of what is truly required to win it all. With that knowledge will come maturity.

Lebron and Kobe are in different stages of their careers and this adds to the complexity of the debate.

Is it fair to include Kobe ’s five championships in the argument when he has had an extra seven years to obtain them?

Is it fair to point out Lebron’s speed and athletic advantages when he is seven years younger than Kobe and entering his prime?

There are so many fundamental differences between the King and the Black Mamba, and so few similarities, that it really is an un-rewarding task attempting to compare the two players and expecting the majority of fans to agree with your verdict. 

It is also worth noting that when the Kobe v. MJ articles are written, the debate that follows in the various comment sections is usually a lot more civilized than in the equivalent Kobe v. Lebron articles.

This is because there are many similarities between Kobe and MJ. For example they played the same position, under the same coach, in the same offense (triangle).

Therefore it is a lot easier to rationally debate the relative merits of the two players in comparison to each other and their respective places in the history of the game.

If you want to compare Lebron James to anyone it should be the other elite small forwards in the NBA. Players like Carmello Anthony make for a far more appropriate comparison when discussing just how unique and talented Lebron is.

Furthermore, when discussing the potential greatness of Kobe Bryant and his place among the elite players of today, the obvious choice for comparison is Dwayne Wade, not Lebron James. 

At the end of the day there is no denying that Lebron and Kobe are the two premiere basketball players in the NBA, let alone the world. Let’s all be friends and just leave it at that. There is no need for the constant hatred between fans.