This is a re-post taken from bleacherreport.com. As we seeing a possible cancellation of more games in NBA due to lockout of players by the owners after the disagreement of the two group on the new CBA. I read articles on the net ’til I bumped on this one.
So may I ask, who is really better? Kobe or LeBron? You decide.
Most unbiased NBA fans will agree that Miami Heat forward LeBron James is the game’s top performer, but does that also mean that he is the game’s most skilled player?
Fans of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant may be hesitant to hand over the title of the NBA’s top player to James, but they will probably never call him basketball’s most skilled player, and they do have a point.
Legitimate NBA stories have been hard to come by in the current lockout environment and several of my most recent articles have centered around Bryant and his status among the league’s elite going into next season, if there is one.
Several readers pointed out while Bryant may no longer be the NBA’s top player he is certainly still the most fundamentally gifted, and there were several examples offered as evidence to prove this theory.
Bryant’s footwork, post skills and work ethic seemed to be the universal theme when forming an argument of Bryant over James. But is there really that much of a skill differential between Bryant and James?
In one word, yes.
For instance, both James and Bryant have mastered the art of the mid range fade-away jumper, but they employ different methods to garner the same result.
James usually uses his size, strength and quick first step to gain a separation advantage, while Bryant utilizes a series of pump-fakes and spins that illustrate his superior footwork.
Bryant’s footwork is also critical to his offensive postgame, which has received plenty of attention since his much publicized workouts with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon.
In truth, Bryant probably already had the best postgame of any perimeter player, and the majority of interior players, but his work with Olajuwon was just another example of Bryant’s drive to improve his game as his athleticism slowly eroded.
That same dedication is something that James will have to emulate if he hopes to hold onto his title as the game’s top player, because while James is not fundamentally incompetent right now, he excels mostly due to his physical ability.
Like the 6 Million Dollar Man, James is simply bigger, stronger and quicker than most opponents he faces on a regular basis and so far his superior athleticism has been more than enough to trump any challenges to his throne.
I’m not sure if the NBA has ever seen an athlete like James, but time waits for no one and the day will surely arrive when James is forced to rely more on the depths of his skills rather than his ability.
Just ask Bryant.
Kobe is a pretty good athlete himself but nowhere near the caliber of James, and once Bryant’s lightening-quick first step and explosive elevation to the rim begin to fade he was forced to adapt.
That’s where the cerebral aspects of the game and attention to details enter the picture and the desire from Bryant to hone his fundamental skills is the reason he is still relevant when it comes to discussing the game’s elite players.
Can James or his fans say he shows the same type of dedication off the court as Bryant?
I’m sure they will try, but it seems that at this point James may be more interested in his celebrity status than his game.
Bryant says his ultimate goal is to be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game, while James has said he would rather be an international brand.
Bryant gave us seven hour workouts and practices after tough losses, while James gave us “The Decision.”
That’s not to say James will not eventually recognize that hard work and dedication will help him reach his goal of being an international brand a little quicker, but at the same point in his career Bryant was already a three-time NBA champion and legend in the making.
NBA fans will continue to marvel at the athleticism and physical ability of James but at some point they will probably want to see him become the type of player his physical talents suggests he could be.
Bryant’s fans can find comfort in the fact that as a player he pushed his body past all reasonable physical limits and once he reached his peak he was able to fall back on the best fundamental skill set in the game.
Ref. (The original article came from)
- LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: Which Megastar Is the Real King of the NBA? (bleacherreport.com)
- 3 Reasons LeBron James Is Kobe Bryant’s Biggest Rival (bleacherreport.com)
- 10 Best Quotes About Kobe Bryant (mademan.com)
- Larry Bird would team with Kobe to win, LeBron for fun (inquisitr.com)