My Take: 25 Questions on 24 vs. 23

M. S.Correspondent IMay 26, 2009

Earlier today, I was reading an article on ESPN.com that paneled seven experts from the website and compared LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in 25 categories. You can read the article and results here, but here’s my take on each of the categories. (In parentheses after the question is the result of the ESPN vote).

1. Who Has Better Nicknames? (Kobe wins 4-3)

Kobe goes by “Black Mamba,” while LeBron is called “The Chosen One” and “King James”.  Personally, I can not figure out why Kobe won this one. Most reporters and analysts refer to LeBron as “King James” while the Black Mamba is much less known to most. My Take: LeBron

2. Who Makes Better Commercials? (LeBron wins 7-0)

I have to agree with the analysts here as LeBron has put out some very good commercials recently. “The LeBrons” are hilarious and I can not remember the last commercial that Kobe did for Nike. My Take: LeBron

3. Who Would Win A Spelling Bee? (Kobe wins 7-0)

Kobe seems like a smarter guy than LeBron to start with, but the fact that Kobe knows Italian gives him the easy edge here. He definitely has his languages down pat and would take the spelling bee. My Take: Kobe

4. Whose Tell-All Twitter Feed Would You Rather Follow? (LeBron wins 5-2)

LeBron is quite the joker and, being younger, seems to have more fun off the court.  He is very good friends with Jay-Z and I would love to see what the two of them do on a regular basis. LeBron is definitely a fun dude. My Take: LeBron

5. Who Will Have The More Interesting Life After Basketball? (LeBron wins 4-3)

LeBron might gain more maturity as he goes on, but right now he is all about being in the spotlight and making as much money as he can. While there is nothing wrong with that, I can see him being in the business world (somewhat like MJ) well after he is done on the court. My Take: LeBron

6. Who Would Win a 100-Meter Race? (LeBron wins 6-1)

Watching LeBron on the fast break leads me to believe he would take this category.  Kobe plays outstanding defense and is very quick but James’ strides would take Kobe in this one. My Take: LeBron

7. Who Would Win A Marathon? (Kobe wins 7-0)

I have to go ahead and agree with the analysts here that Kobe would take the cake in a marathon. The guy seems to never get tired down the stretch, regardless of how many minutes he has played. My Take: Kobe

8. Who Would Be The Better Football Player? (LeBron wins 6-1)

This is really interesting because I don’t know what position LeBron would play. Wide receiver makes the most sense, but at 6′8″, is he too big? I am going to take Kobe here because I think he would play wide receiver and dominate. He’s the perfect size (6′5″) and at this point is probably a little more agile than LeBron. King James is a physical freak, but Kobe is no slouch. My Take: Kobe

9. Who Would Be The Better Soccer Player? (Kobe wins 7-0)

Not too fond of this question, but the agility and endurance factor that Kobe has makes me believe he would be the better soccer player. He can also speak Italian, so yeah. My Take: Kobe

10. Who Would Win In The Octagon? (LeBron wins 6-1)

Both of these guys have the heart of a champion, but LeBron’s size advantage has to give him the nod here. He is a physical specimen and has close to 60 pounds on Kobe.  No one can stop LeBron as he goes through the lane, so I’d hate to see someone have to stop him as he does the same thing without a basketball. My Take: LeBron

11. Who Had The Better High School Years? (LeBron wins 7-0)

This is a tough one for Kobe who was absolutely dominant in high school. Unfortunately, LeBron was just as good and had ESPN in his high school every waking moment. He went undefeated his senior year and won a state title with four of his best friends. My Take: LeBron

12. Who Was Better At Age 24? (LeBron wins 6-1)

Kobe did have a pair of rings when he was 24, but having Shaquille O’Neal on his team will always make people wonder. LeBron has done everything on his own and is poised to make a championship run this year with absolutely no help. Tough call here but I have to go with King James. My Take: LeBron

13. Who Has Had The Better Career So Far? (Kobe wins 7-0)

Kind of an unfair question as there is no argument for LeBron. Kobe has been around much longer and has the three rings that LeBron does not. At 30, Kobe is still performing at such a high level that LeBron is not even gaining that much ground on him. My Take: Kobe

14. Who Will Finish With The Better Career? (LeBron wins 7-0)

Just because LeBron took home all seven votes does not mean it was by that much.  Stat-wise, LeBron will surpass Kobe in just about every category but the verdict is still out on whether or not LeBron will win three (or more titles). I’ll give it to James by a hair. My Take: LeBron

15. Who Is A Better Leader? (LeBron wins 6-1)

Everyone knows about how the Cavaliers' bench has more fun than any team in the NBA and how LeBron can corral a team and make them all believe. However, I am one of the few who believes Kobe gets the short end on how good of a teammate he really is.  Ball hog or not, Kobe makes everyone around him better and is great on the bench and off the court. Give me Kobe all day. My Take: Kobe

16. Who Has Had Better Dunks? (LeBron wins 6-1)

This was one of the easier ones for me to pick as LeBron has some of the most amazing dunks that I have ever seen. It’s not just on the fast break that he does it, either. He will drive to the hoop where two defenders are waiting and still throw it down. He elevates like no one else I have seen and can get the crowd going with a slam home.  My Take: LeBron

17. Who Will Finish With More MVP Titles? (LeBron wins 7-0)

Considering that LeBron has already tied Kobe I will have to go with him in a landslide here. Steve Nash has more MVP awards than Kobe and he has gotten hosed on a few trophies, but that is neither here nor there. I will go out on a limb and say that LeBron will have at least five MVPs when it is all said and done (same as MJ). My Take: LeBron

18. Who Will Finish With More Rings? (LeBron wins 4-3)

I believe that Kobe will add another ring to his collection this year, giving him four. I can not see LeBron ending his career with more than four, so I will give this one to the Black Mamba. A lot of people do not understand just what it takes to win a championship, let alone three. My Take: Kobe

19. Whom Would You Rather Have On Your Pick-up Team? (LeBron wins 4-3)

ESPN analysts Henry Abbott made a great point that changed my mind on this one.  I was going to take Kobe, but his comment made me change my pick.

“Whom would you pick? The super intense guy who often reams out his teammates … or the freakishly big, strong guy who passes willingly and loves a good joke?”

LeBron knows when to laugh during a game but can also turn that switch and take over a game. Regardless of who I pick, my team has a pretty good shot at winning this pick-up game. My Take: LeBron

20. Who Is The Truer Heir to MJ? (Kobe wins 6-1)

I fully believe that Kobe is the closest player we will ever see to MJ. LeBron is flashy, gets the crowd involved, and has some pretty cool basketball shoes, but the way Kobe handles himself and acts on the court is very much like MJ. I do not think either will ever be considered better than MJ, but Kobe is closer. My Take: Kobe

21. Who Would Win A One-on-One Game? (Kobe wins 5-2)

Kobe has the best mid-range jump shot in the NBA and that would be key for him winning a game against LeBron.  Bryant does an excellent job guarding James when the two meet in games, so I do not think the size factor would come into play as much as one would think. My Take: Kobe

22. One Game, One Guy: Whom Would You Pick? (LeBron wins 4-3)

Just because of what Kobe has been through in his career, I give him the nod today. In six years, I probably go with LeBron, but he just is not experienced enough. Sure, he has been to the Finals, but look how he fared in that. Kobe is as clutch in big games as they come. My Take: Kobe

23. 24 Seconds to Play, Down Two: Who Gets The Ball? (Kobe wins 6-1)

The way I looked at this question was who is going to give me the best chance of tying the game up for my team. That guy is LeBron. No one is better at A) winding down the clock and pulling up from 25 feet out and B) driving to the hole and drawing a foul.  Because of those two factors, I’ll take LeBron getting me two points at the end. My Take: LeBron

24. Who Gets The Last Shot? (Kobe gets 5-2)

Now this question is different from the last. For a last second shot, outside of MJ, there is no one else’s hands I would want the ball in more than Kobe. He is as clutch as they come and has the experience to take the last shot. It would probably go in, too. My Take: Kobe

25. Who Is Better? (LeBron wins 4-3)

Ugghhh, they would ask this at the end, wouldn’t they? At the beginning of the year, I would drop everything to watch LeBron and within about two minutes of watching, he would have my jaw on the ground with something amazing he did. However, the more I thought about it, being flashy does not make you better.

Don’t get me wrong, LeBron is right at the top of the list, and you can clearly make a case for him as the best player basketball in the world. The point is that even though LeBron can jump out of the gym and resurrect a franchise in five years, Kobe still does it all.

He has been through SO much in his career and still perseveres through it all. Maybe he has me fooled, but I believe he is a great teammate and even better person that has everything you look for in a superstar. My Final Take: Kobe

*It was interesting to note that of the 25 categories, LeBron had my vote in seven of the 11 non-basketball related questions.

When it came to basketball related questions, Kobe had seven of my votes compared to six for LeBron. The two most important questions, in my opinion, also went to Kobe (more rings and last shot).



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