Carvelli's Corner: The Kobe vs. LeBron Debate

Michael CarvelliContributor IJune 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Do you see the look in Kobe Bryant's eyes?

If you watched Game One of the Finals on Thursday, you had to have seen this look because of the announcer's constant references to "how much he wants this championship."

While I was watching the game with a few friends, this sparked up the newest great debate between almost all NBA fans.  "Who's better, LeBron or Kobe?"

Now, of course as a LIFE-LONG Cleveland fan—not one of those Cavs fans since 2003 that you see everywhere for some reason—I am going to side with LeBron on this one.  This of course got me riddled with question after question from my friends, almost all of whom were on the Kobe side.

I will say that right now, if I have to pick between Kobe or LeBron to lead my team to a championship, I will take Kobe because of the fact that he's just a more experienced player and he has been there.  But, other than the experience factor, three other things were thrown out as to why Kobe is a better player than "The King."

REASON No. 1:  The Jumper

I have to give the point on this one to Bryant.  Hands down, if I need someone to hit a jump shot or somebody to go to the foul line, even though James hit two of the most clutch free throws I have ever seen in Game Four of the Orlando series, I'm definitely taking Kobe.

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Over his career, he has built himself as a great shooter that can hit from just about anywhere pretty consistently.  Whereas consistency is the one thing that Bron can't quite find when he's shooting, whether it be mid range shots or foul shots.  It's just not his strong point yet.

I do think that given time, he will develop a more consistent shooting game and will end up being a good shooter because of the steady increase that he has already shown throughout his career.

REASON No. 2:  The Killer Instinct

This was something that I was a little on the fence before choosing a side.  The first thing that they said was that LeBron is afraid to take big shots and passes to his teammates, whereas Kobe would take it because he is not afraid to do it. 

Just because of the fact that LeBron is more unselfish than Kobe doesn't necessarily mean that he has no killer instinct. 

Take Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals for example.  When LeBron makes the pass to a wide-open Delonte West instead of taking it up for a tough shot, Kobe would've taken that shot. 

He just has that feeling that when he gets in the zone nobody is going to stop him from doing whatever he wants to do when he gets the ball, and LeBron will be like this, if you just give him time.  He is already starting to develop that mindset, but he is still in that phase where if he sees somebody that could have an open look, he'll let them shine.

But, when "The Black Mamba" gets that look in his eyes, he's going to make sure no one is stopping him, and everyone knows that.  Just ask Courtney Lee.

REASON No. 3:  The Rings

I absolutely cannot stand when somebody brings this up.  The fact that people think that since Kobe has three championships means he is a better player than LeBron is crazy.  The one word that makes this fact completely absurd to me is...SHAQ.

Ever since LeBron has been in the league, the closest things he has had to a dominant second option have been Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Maurice Williams.

Neither of these two can even hold a candle to the way that Shaquille O'Neal helped Kobe win three NBA Finals.  Shaq was even so good that it was Kobe that was the Mo Williams to O'Neal's James in those three Finals.

The fact that Kobe had another superstar to help him win those championships is the main reason that I am not giving Kobe a point in this debate.  LeBron has gotten his team to the Finals once, along with a trip to the Conference Finals with virtually no help compared to what Bryant got those three seasons.

I took Kobe's best of his three championship seasons (2001) and compared the stats of him and Shaq to those of LeBron and Williams from this season's playoffs.

That season Kobe averaged 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game; which resembles LeBron's 35.3, 9.1, 7.3 line this season.  But, the difference was that Mo logged in 16.3, 3.2, and 4.1 a night, compared to Shaq's gaudy 30.4, 15.4, and 3.2.

Tell you the truth, I have a feeling that if you give LeBron James the best big man in the league (we'll say Dwight Howard), he would have a couple of rings on his finger right now, and would be on his way to beating Kobe for another one.

Another Carvelli's Corner coming up next week, any thoughts feel free to e-mail me at