What LeBron James Needs To Be the Next Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan

John CarterContributor IIIApril 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 12:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at Staples Center on January 12, 2004 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 89-79.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ok, first of all, let's see who Lebron James must compete with to make this top 10 list.

1. Michael Jordan

2. Kobe Bryant

3. Shaquille O'Neal

4. Wilt Chamberlain

5. Bill Russell

6. Magic Johnson

7. Larry Bird

8. Kareem Abdul Jabbar

9. Hakeem Olajuwon

10. Tim Duncan 

Why Aren't Wilt and Bill Higher? And Where Is Oscar?

Those players played when the league was less competitive and only featured a small number of teams.

Also basketball has changed and it has become harder to score. It is IMPOSSIBLE to average 27 rebounds and 50 points per game in a season nowadays.

These guys are more like myths of the past; even though they were great players and would have been if they were in the NBA today.

The Accomplishments of the Greatest

We have the Chicago Bulls' legendary Michael Jordan and the Los Angeles Lakers' living legend Kobe Bryant.

The two men have a combined 10 Championship rings, both have been NBA Finals MVPs, and the two boast 26 All-Star game appearances combined. Both are slam dunk champions, first team All-NBA members, first team All-Defense members, and former scoring champions.

One scored 81 in a regular season game, and the other scored 63 in a Playoff game. Both have multiple clutch performances and both have countless game winners.

Assassin's Mentality

What separates these two from the pack is their mind. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have so much in common, including their assassin's mentality.

No matter how great James is, or how great he WILL be, he needs the assassin's mentality of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in order to go down in the books as the greatest.

Their will to win and their willingness to do anything to leave with a "W" are why MJ and Bryant perform so well in the clutch.

That assassin's mentality provides Jordan and Bryant the ability to perform extremely well when hot.

You know when Kobe is about to drop 40-plus. It's that hard shot he makes, that shot that he has no hope of draining but it goes in anyway. That's when he becomes almost unstoppable. It only takes that ONE shot, that one little shot, to spark a bomb.

James does have hot streaks, but he doesn't ride the flow as well as Bryant and Jordan.

Jordan and Bryant are, without a doubt, the best finishers in basketball history. When they have got you down, no matter how bad, they want to step on you. They want to spit on you, and keep you down.

When on the receiving end, however, they will topple that lead and take over.

Kobe Bryant Doin' Work

Another big thing James needs to learn is how to work.

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were both consummated professionals. Bryant especially, is the hardest worker on the planet.

Bryant will not take time off for the big screen like his counterparts, James and Shaq, have.

Well, James never has, but he will star in a movie this summer, missing international play.

Bryant will play the game, no matter how hard, or easy. Through injuries or not, this warrior will not only rise, but take over.

Bryant is immortal compared to James.

While James is enjoying his popularity and flashy lights, Bryant is in a dark place working.

Even when Bryant was young, he denied party invitations, just to practice basketball.

James, now an MVP, parties with celebrities nonstop.

He may be the people's champion, but it takes hard work to be the best.

Jordan Doin' Work

James may have been gifted with his talent, his inhuman speed and size, but Bryant and Jordan were not. They had to work for it, and that is why they are more respected by peers.

Bryant and Jordan both have haters—Bryant especially—but peers know just how great they really are.

Bryant can be the best perimeter defender in the league when he faces stars—the likes of James, Wade, 'Melo, Johnson—but he is often lazy with lesser ballers.

Jordan was the best perimeter defender of all time. He played that same defense Bryant plays, but he played it ALL the time, which is why Jordan tops Bryant on the basketball mountain.

James will need to learn how to take apart the opposing team, piece by piece. He WILL learn to immobilize opponents with his mindset alone.

When he gets this assassin's mentality, I might consider putting LeBron next to Jordan, then Kobe Bryant.


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