Kobe vs. LeBron; Are You Serious?

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IMay 23, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game at Staples Center on January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers 105-88.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

When asked of the comparison between he and LeBron James a while back, "Are you serious?" was the response Kobe offered back. He sounded as if he was offended. He sounded as if he thought, "How dare these guys compare this kid to a man that has won all of these titles, scored 81 in a game, and hit big shots."

Then it gets worse. Jerry West goes on to say, "LeBron has passed Kobe to be the best player in the world." Even Magic has said so recently and they are Lakers! Many LeBron fans will use that in the argument but it is that simple. The Lakers legends know how Kobe thinks. That was simple code talk for: you better win the championship this year if you want to call yourself the best player in this league. Notice that it's always around the end of the regular season or going into the playoffs that we hear this from the Lakers legends. Michael Jordan, the basketball legend of all legends was caught on video telling a crowd of kids that Kobe is the better player. West and Magic really know what's going on too.

James fans will cry out, "He won back-to-back MVPs." Yes he did, but that award is very political. Plus MVP and best player are two different things. Steve Nash won it back-to-back years and he was nowhere near the best player in the league in his entire career. You have to question those MVPs when Kobe was scoring 40 or more 10 straight games and 81 in a game. You really have to question those MVPs when Nash is a liability on defense. We all know the kind of D Kobe plays.

I can hear the James fans now saying, "But he outplayed Kobe this season; look at the numbers." That's true, but you better out-play a man that has two broken fingers on his shooting hand, sprained ankle, and a badly swollen knee. Kobe still averaged 27 a game!

LeBron showed me what he was made of (or what he wasn't made of) when he had a little elbow bruise. He makes his first free throw then shoots the next one left handed as if he had just been shot! He then goes on to favor it to try to show how hurt he was. You know he was looking for a way out! Kobe just played the hand he was dealt.

The fact that Kobe's still playing while LeBron is at home trying to figure out who he wants to play for next speaks volumes. I hear the James fans again. They're saying, "Kobe has better team aroun him." They weren't saying that during the regular season. All of the media sang the praises of his supporting cast then. They had the statistical best defense in the league. They were also one of the top three point FG shooting teams. One man doesn't win 60 games two years in a row with no help. However, that one man sure did lose it for them in the playoffs.

Here is your bottom line. Great players come up big when their team really needs them. MJ, Kobe, Magic, D-Wade, Bird, and Melo come to mind. LeBron came up small three games in a row when his team needed him. He shot 18-53 with 19 turnovers in that span. You can't blame that on supporting cast. With more turnovers than field goal makes, he lost that series for his team. Meanwhile, Kobe scores at least 30 in six straight playoff games. That includes a 40-point game. Then when the Suns try to double-team him, he gets 21 points and 13 assists.

I may sound like a LeBron-hater but he hasn't won anything yet. They didn't call MJ the best until he won a title. The same goes for Magic and Bird. Kobe had to score 81 and win one without Shaq. That really isn't fair because Shaq could only win titles with Kobe and D-Wade. It's funny how the NBA has become just like Hollywood. They want so badly to bring in a new "it boy" just like Hollywood is bringing in Megan Fox to replace Angelina Jolie as the "it girl." It's a sad day when there is more talk about where LeBron will play next year than Kobe possibly winning his fifth title.