Kobe or LeBron: Who is the NBA's Best Player?

Matt FarvaContributor INovember 6, 2008

Probably one of the most debated topics in the present day NBA is; Who is the better basketball player LeBron James or Kobe Bryant?

Both players clearly display a strong case for the World's Best player award. Both players possess the pure scoring gift, which not only allows them to put up ridiculous stat lines, but also to make their teams and teammates better around them.

Kobe Bryant is seasoned veteran that has played for the same team his entire 12-year NBA career since entering the league from Lower Merion Highschool in Pennsylvania. During Kobe's first four years in the league, he reached the playoffs all 4 years, playing limited minutes in his first two, started during his third season losing in the conference finals; and winning in his fourth season after the arrival of Shaquille O'Neal.

LeBron entered the league a short five years ago and has made a very large impact; he entered from St. Vincents-St. Marys High School in Ohio. Missing the playoffs his first two seasons, James took the playoffs by storm in his third and fourth season by leading the Cavs to the Eastern Conference Finals and losing to the Detroit Pistons. In his fourth season, LeBron lead his team to the NBA Finals, unfortunately losing to a far superior San Antonio Spurs with loads of playoff experience.

In regards to playoff experience, Kobe has far more experience in his first four years considering he made limited post-season playing time in his first three seasons, however, won three straight NBA Finals in his fourth season and the two following with help from dominating centre in Shaquille O'Neal and talented point guard in Derek Fisher.

In regards to playoff performance, LeBron answered the call much better than Kobe Bryant, by averaging 25.1 ppg in his first playoff experience and 28.9 ppg in his season where the Cav's reached the Finals.

This average included a 56 point performance in overtime Game 6 win against Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals where LeBron scored 29 of Cleveland's 30 points in overtime.

Kobe has lower career stats due to more seasons in the league therefore more factors to affect points per game and other major stat lines. LeBron is still relatively new in the league, averaging higher in most major stat categories. LeBron has averaged 27.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, and 6.6 apg compared to Kobe's totals after his 1st four years: 16.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 3.1 apg.

Kobe had a difficult start to his NBA career though due to the fact he was not a starter in his first two years, and only had limited minutes in his first two season's as well.

However, Kobe Bryant was the youngest player to ever be named to the All-Star Game and was also the youngest player to win the most coveted Slam Dunk Contest. By doing this Kobe has joined the likes of Dr. J, Michael Jordan and Spud Webb.

LeBron James took the NBA by storm when he was drafted straight out of high school, and was elected to the All-Star Game every season he has been in the league, but chose as a rookie and sophomore to not enter the Slam Dunk Competition.

These two players are easily the one two basketball players in the world today but which one truly has the edge?

With my personal opinion, I would lean toward LeBron James mainly due to the lack of talent he has had on recent Cleveland Cavalier teams. Kobe Bryant has been surrounded by heavy talent throughout his NBA career and has put up excellent numbers.

LeBron James has put up exemplary numbers in his four-year NBA career, even with the limited amount of talent he has had surrounding him in his previous years. LeBron carried his team through the playoffs, but has yet to lead his team to a Finals ring. Due to the superb play by LeBron, a ring can't be far away.

Therefore, King James keeps his throne.