Kobe Bryant vs LeBron James is a rivalry that never really happened since they never faced off in the NBA Finals. Regardless, ESPN polled viewers on Wednesday, asking them which of the two would finish with a greater career.
The results were revealed on ESPN First Take. Not surprisingly, Bryant received 57% of the votes while LeBron received the remaining 43%. Bryant will finish his illustrious career with five championships, 1x MVP award and 2x Finals MVP awards. LeBron has already surpassed Bryant with regards to individual accomplishments. But the Cavs forward is still three rings behind Kobe.
LeBron has reached the last five NBA Finals. But unfortunately for basketball lovers, his peak years have coincided with Bryant’s decline. Kobe’s last finals appearance, in 2010, was the last that didn’t feature LeBron. Prior to that, LeBron reached the final in 2007 when the Lakers were ousted in the first round of the postseason by the Phoenix Suns. As fate would have it, the Lakers reached three consecutive finals thereafter, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but LeBron failed to get there.
ESPN’s Skip Bayless made an interesting analogy, comparing Kobe to Tom Brady and LeBron to Peyton Manning. “Manning had one of the greatest regular season career but lost countless times in the playoffs. But when it came to crunch time, you wanted Brady with the ball. Similarly, Bryant is the one I want with the ball when it counts.”
LeBron and Kobe are currently facing off for the final time in Cleveland. There will be one final match-up at the Staples Center on March 11. That is the last time fans will get to see the two legends go to battle before Bryant retires at the end of the season.
LeBron had a similar path to the NBA. Just like Kobe, he came straight out of high school. Prior to Wednesday’s game, LeBron got emotional while expressing his respect for Kobe. “Anytime I even watch his games, even when I’m not playing him, it’s always, like, very emotional just knowing it’s his last hurrah. And he’s done so much, not only for the Lakers organisation, but for me as a kid growing up watching Kobe and things of that nature and also competing against him,” said LeBron.
Kobe Bryant vs LeBron James: Who do you reckon will finish with the more accomplished career?