In a league of abounding questions, ranging from "what ever happened to Steve Francis?" to "were the Bobcats ever good?” one question emerges much more often than any other: Kobe or LeBron? The fact that these arguments have been going on for over seven years is ridiculous in itself, and even more ridiculous when the answer is actually quite obvious.
P.S.—just for the record, I hate both players (although I do respect both) so there is no bias going on.
Kobe’s been on an absolute tear as of late, with four straight 40+ point games, but stats aren’t exactly the best variable to use when comparing players (if we went by stats, Vince Carter would be a top 20 player of all time and Shane Battier would be a nobody). LeBron clearly has the edge stat-wise, which leads a majority of people to instantly put LeBron above Kobe. In doing so, people tend to overlook the best part of Kobe’s game—his intangibles.
From a killer instinct to a clutch mentality, Kobe’s intangibles beat LeBron’s any day. Killer mentality is being able to keep your foot on your opponent’s throat and feel no remorse or pity for them. This is what set Jordan apart from Barkley, and Bird apart from Miller.
As the popular story goes, the first time that Larry Bird and Michael Jordan met was in a USA basketball practice. When Jordan's ball rolled over to Bird after a miss, Bird punted the ball into the stands and went back to shooting free throws. Bird emphasizes the principle of how there are no friends on the court. If only LeBron agreed.
If you recall from last year’s playoffs, Dirk Nowitzki suffered an illness, and as a result, LeBron was mocking him on live television, coughing obnoxiously. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to LeBron; look all over YouTube and Google—you’ll be occupied for hours with LeBron’s childish acts.
While LeBron is busy dancing during timeouts, Kobe is so focused on winning that he doesn’t even have time to acknowledge Chris Rock—one of the funniest men in the world! How are you going to depend on a guy that imitates Michael Jackson during timeouts to have no mercy on the opposing team? For the record, Michael Jackson and no mercy should never be used in the same sentence.
I once heard a story about Kobe about back when he played in high school. Every single day after practice, Kobe would play the back up point guard (Rob Schwartz) in a game of one-on-one…to 100. Average margin of victory for Kobe? 95.
To be able to have the mentality to keep on pounding and pounding down on a scrub (no offense, Rob Schwartz) should make you fear what he would do to a starter or even a star.
Unless LeBron can develop that killer mentality that he lacks so much, he will never, ever, ever be anywhere near Kobe or Jordan’s level, no matter what the stats may say.