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Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? Which MVP Award Would You Rather Have?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJune 19, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:   LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 25, 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 Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The fact that Kobe Bryant won his fifth NBA championship doesn't mean he is a better individual player than LeBron James, but his second consecutive Finals' MVP award does raise some interesting points in the debate.

James also captured his second consecutive MVP award during the regular season, but his Cleveland Cavaliers' flame-out in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals shifted the tone of the debate.

There were some who inevitably clung to the same excuses of James' supporting cast as the reason for his team's failures, but that arguement fails to hold weight in the wake of two seasons as the league's top team.

The Cavaliers' failures were James' as well, and Bryant's success on the game's greatest stage continues to be the achievement which seperates the two in stature.

I say stature because everything about James and Bryant is different right down to the position they play, and any direct comparison is silly because none of their skills are similar.

In order to form any comparison you have to first have common points of interest, and the only ones you can find between Bryant and James is their success in the postseason.

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Or lack of, because Bryant has dominated the discussion in that category, and his will and desire to succeed is a stark contrast to James' broken attitude after Game Four against Boston.

The Lakers had been humiliated by Boston in Game five of the NBA Finals, but instead of crashing under the pressure of a 3-2 deficit, Bryant inspired his teammates to raise their level of play for the remaining games.

That type of leadership was missing from James during this year's postseason, and even though his talents make his teammates better, he doesn't seem to have the ability to motivate them as well.

Bryant may not be the most genial member on the Lakers' roster, but he has forged a common bond with his teammates based on his passion for the game, and his will to suceed.

He may not be the most loved member of his team, but he is the most respected, and this has created an environment where the other members of the Lakers' want to win in honor of that respect.

His leadership of the team is unquestioned, and that quality is something that Bryant developed and James is not yet comfortable with.

James' approach was based on friendship and fun, and that may have made it hard to express certain feelings when James needed the full attention of his team.

And this was likely a failure of James to understand the urgency of the moment and what taking advantage of the situation would mean to the final evealuation of him as a player.

James' two consecutive MVP awards were based more on his amazing regular season statistics while Bryant's two consecutive Finals' MVP awards is a recognition of the game's greatest player on it's greatest stage.

James' physical talents alone will not elevate him to this place, and he has the past two seasons as evidence that a different approach to the situation is in order.

Bryant has re-claimed the title of the NBA's greatest player, and in reality it is something he never lost, because in terms of the leadership mentality, he has always held an edge over James.

James must make a commitment to becoming a NBA champion, and that starts with his leadership abilities, and it will be the difference from James becoming a truly legendary player or just another great one.

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