My wife and I were watching 60 Minutes last night on the couch (I’m officially grown), and we caught the piece on LeBron James. When they said LBJ was currently the league’s second leading scorer, Isis asked me who the leader was.
“Well,” she asked, “is LeBron better than Kobe?”
Ah, women. So complicated, yet so simple.
First of all, I am coming from a 2009, regular season frame of reference. Three years ago and three years from now, things will be different, but:
In a word, no, Kobe is not better than LeBron. It’s tough to say who would win in a game of one-on-one, because they are pretty evenly matched. Kobe’s career is on the wane, while LeBron’s is on the rise. Kobe has more or less peaked as an athlete–I’m not even sure if LeBron is done growing yet. Kobe has yet to win a championship without Shaq, while LeBron will probably never get to team up with such a dominant player.
Still, if you see Kobe on the street, you better show him some respect. As Donald Trump said before he fired Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice: “A Champion is a champion.” Kobe has 3 rings on 5 trips to the Finals, LeBron is 0 for 1. The Lakers have a really good chance of winning it all this year. Personally, I’d like to see them do it. Kobe would then have 4 rings just like Shaq, Phil will have 10, and all three of them can coast off into the sunset to make room for the neck-tattooed new school. Not that Kobe would retire after this year, but I believe this season is his last best chance to win it all.
If the Cavaliers win it this year, Kobe will never get another championship because the Lakers can’t get past the Celtics or the Cavs. Once LeBron’s championship run begins, it will be tough to bust it up until it’s really over, and that will take more time than Kobe has left. I really want to see LA take it this year.
Like I said, it’s complicated. Even though the next 10 years belong to LeBron in the same way the last 10 belonged to Kobe, as of today, Kobe is still better in reality.