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Kobe Bryant Vs. LeBron James: Comparison of Two NBA Stars

Since his entry into the NBA scene in 2003, LeBron James has created huge waves across the basketball world. With his superb performances, it was only natural that he would be compared with another established great, Kobe Bryant. In this article, we will help you to form an unbiased decision about this debate based on stats, accomplishments, and the impact that these players have on the game.
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Comparison between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
LeBron James signed a 7-year contract with Nike, worth USD 90 million, even before he passed out from high school.

Kobe Bryant has a larger international following as compared to James. Kobe Bryant jerseys are the highest selling in Asia, South America, and Europe.

Who is better? The 'Black Mamba' or 'King James? This heated debate has been going on for quite some time now. However, because Bryant's career might soon reach its end, while James is still at his peak, it is difficult to reach a conclusive decision. Another factor is that the two players have not played much against each other. However, such comparisons are what make the sport more interesting. Let's attempt to find out how these modern greats score over each other, by looking at all their stats and other factors related to them.

Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
(extreme right in pic)

DOB: August 23, 1978

Born: Philadelphia, PA

Position: Shooting Guard (Los Angeles Lakers)

Salary/ Winnings: USD 30.5 M

Endorsements: USD 31 M

Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)

Weight: 205 lb
LeBron James
LeBron James
(extreme left in pic)

DOB: December 30, 1984

Born: Akron, OH

Position: Forward (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Salary/Winnings: USD 19.3 M

Endorsements: USD 53 M

Height: 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)

Weight: 250 lb

Kobe Bryant has been accepted by all to be one of the best players of the sport, along with legends like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. However, the meteoric rise of LeBron James brought him into the spotlight. He has already broken a few records, and given that he is still in his prime, it is almost certain that he will break many more. Let's begin the comparison between the two players by placing their statistics against each other.

Seasons and Championship Titles

Seasons/Games Kobe Bryant LeBron James
Championships 5 2
Playoffs/NBA Seasons 15/18 9/11
All-Star Games 16 10

Titles and Awards

Accomplishments Kobe Bryant LeBron James
Season MVP 1 4
Finals MVP 2 2
All-NBA First Team 11 8
All-Defensive First Team 9 5
Scoring Leader 2 1
Rookie of the Year 0 1

Regular Season Statistics

Score Kobe Bryant LeBron James
Games Played 1,245 842
Total Points 31,700 23,170
Points Per Game (PPG) 25.5 27.5
Total Rebounds 6,601 6,086
Rebounds Per Game 5.3 7.2
Total Assists 5,925 5,791
Assists Per Game 4.8 6.9
Total Steals 1,835 1,444
Steals Per Game 1.5 1.7
Total Blocks 620 675
Blocks Per Game 0.5 0.8
Field Goal Percentage .454 .497
3-Point Percentage .335 .341
Free Throw Percentage .838 .747

NBA Playoff Statistics

Score Kobe Bryant LeBron James
Games Played 220 158
Total Points 5,640 4,419
Points Per Game (PPG) 25.6 28.0
Total Rebounds 1,119 1,332
Rebounds Per Game 5.1 8.4
Total Assists 1,040 1,019
Assists Per Game 4.7 6.4
Total Steals 310 273
Steals Per Game 1.4 1.7
Total Blocks 144 139
Blocks Per Game 0.7 0.9
Field Goal Percentage .448 .482
3-Point Percentage .331 .333
Free Throw Percentage .816 .755

If you notice, the per game stats of LeBron are definitely better than that of Kobe, indicating that, given time, James will cross the total stats of Bryant. However, statistics alone cannot give a complete picture, that too when it is about who is better in a one-on-one comparison between Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James. So let's focus on their game play and see how their skills impact a match.

Team Player
While Kobe Bryant has great influence on the team off-court, his style of play is more inclined towards solo play. LeBron James, on the other hand, is definitely a better team player, both on and off court. His style of play not only enables him to score more points per game, but also more assists, steals, and blocks. His game is the reason why an average team like the Cleveland Cavaliers are serious contenders for the championship.

One-on-one Game Play
Kobe Bryant is definitely better in this facet of the game. He possesses almost robotic accuracy on his shoots, and an opposition who fails to mark him constantly, is sure to suffer heavily. LeBron James is not bad himself, but it may take quite a while before he acquires this skill of Bryant.

Crunch Situations
This same accuracy of Kobe Bryant makes him the best in taking his team through the final moments of a match. Apart from this, Bryant has more playoff experience and championship wins under his belt, which is sure to help him keep his nerve in crucial moments of a match. LeBron James might be able to gain these skills with time, but for the moment, Kobe stands on top.

Athleticism
Although Bryant is a great athlete, LeBron James holds the advantage of superior speed and jumps. He is often seen almost soaring through the air and making shooting baskets look like child's play. All this, despite being 6' 8" tall and weighing 250 lbs, makes him one of the best there is.

The Verdict
With his amazing skill set and 5 championship titles, Kobe Bryant holds the edge over LeBron James, for the moment. However, he has passed his prime. On the other hand, James has time on his side to match up with Bryant's, and has just reached the best stage in his career. It is almost inevitable that he will cross Bryant in all the facets of the game, unless, God forbid, he suffers a major injury. So until he does that, Kobe Bryant rules.
Who, do you think, wins this comparison battle?
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
By
Published: July 25, 2014
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