Los Angeles Lakers: Sorry, but Lebron James is better than Kobe Bryant

Mar 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) guards Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) on the court in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) guards Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) on the court in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Kobe Bryant is one of, if not the, greatest player to lace it up for the Los Angeles Lakers. His greatness is undeniable, however, he will be outshined by the king.

Kobe Bryant is a great basketball player, and I will never take away from what he has done for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant is easily a top five player all-time and could be argued to crack the top three. Bryant is the greatest scorer of our generation, and before I start contrasting two greats I want to establish I am not taking away from his greatness.

Also, before you click away if this does not fit your personal beliefs, take a chance, give it a read. Us, as sports fans, will never learn anything if we don’t hear the other end of the spectrum.

I know this can be a sensitive topic to some people, and that is okay. Educated debated is the best part about writing these pieces, I would love to hear what analytics and statistics others can bring to the table.

With that being said, yes, I do believe that Lebron James is better than Kobe Bryant and when it is all said and done will go down with a better career. While Kobe definitely is a better scorer, Lebron is an all-around better player and teammate.

First, let’s get statistical. Lebron owns the edge in nearly every stat in the game. Lebron has averaged more assists, more rebounds, more blocks, more steals, and despite not being a scorer, more points per game.

Lebron has shot far better than Kobe – .501 compared to .447 – shoots 1.3% better from behind the arc, with the only shooting metric Kobe holds the edge in is free throw shooting.

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How about the playoffs? Well, Lebron once again holds the edge in every single category previously mentioned with the only exception being three-point shooting, which he is shooting at a 0.2% worse clip than Kobe.

How about the accolades? Lebron has won four MVP’s to Kobe’s one, has won three finals MVP’s to Kobe’s two, and when it all said and done will surpass Kobe in all-star and All-NBA appearances. Lebron needs five more all-star appearances and two more All-NBA honors. Assuming he plays 20 seasons like Bryant he can easily get both honors.

Quite frankly, Lebron holds the edge in pretty much every metric that determines how good a basketball player is. Yet, there are still two huge counter-arguments against this claim. First, Kobe advocates argue that Kobe has more rings, and second, the Lebron does not have Kobe’s “killer instinct” and that he can only win with super teams.

Let’s start with the former. Lebron James has won three rings in 13 seasons. Bryant won his fifth in his 13th season. Yes, Kobe does hold the edge, however, Lebron has at least four more years of superstar output. King James can easily win number four this year and have four more years to tie Bryant. You know that Lebron is good when opposing views have to bring in a team metric to downplay his greatness.

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Second of all, the killer instinct that Lebron doesn’t have? Yes, Kobe was a killer on the court and at his very best could sink any shot, but basketball is far more than just shooting and Lebron has shown when his back is against the wall he can take over.

in 2016 Lebron and the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit, against the best team in NBA history nonetheless, to win Cleveland’s first title. What did Lebron do in that comeback? Oh, he only averaged 36.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 9.7 assists – but he has no killer instinct.

Then people say that Lebron could not win without a super team. It is true, all of his rings came with an insane team around him, but Kobe’s weren’t?

In Bryant’s first three rings he played alongside perhaps the most dominant center in NBA history in Shaquille O’Neal, playing for the best coach in NBA history in Phil Jackson. Then, rings four and five came with the help of Pau Gasol, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds a game, Andrew Bynum who averaged around 15 and 10, with the best sixth man in NBA history Lamar Odom.

Lebron needs these teams to compete in the landscape of today’s NBA. Kobe wouldn’t have beaten the 2013 Spurs or the current day Warriors. The only true blemish on Lebron’s finals record is the loss against the Mavericks.

Kobe has a blemish in the finals too though as well. The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers failed to beat the Pistons in the finals despite having Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton. Granted this was past their prime, Bryant still put together a -40 in that series.

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What do you think? What statistics put Kobe ahead of Lebron? Be sure to comment down below on what you think.