Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? The choice is obvious
When the careers of Kobe and James are finished, only one will look like a man.
Kobe Bryant is the second-most talented player in basketball history. Kobe is in first place as the most-petulant hall-of-famer or hall of fame to be player in basketball history. LeBron James is six years younger than Kobe, yet years ahead in maturity.
Last Tuesday against the Suns, Kobe wanted to prove a point by not shooting the entire first half. He threw some alley-oop passes on fast breaks when he had the best shot. He made dumb basketball plays just to show up certain teammates. Do you think Kobe went to Mike D'Antoni before the game to get approval for his plan? Do you think Kobe discussed this with Steve Nash? Kobe cares about winning championships, but not nearly as much as he cares about himself.
LeBron has one championship. LeBron will win multiple. Just like what Kobe and Michael went through, the Heat will eventually have to turn over its roster for James to win more than Kobe's five and MJ's six. Although it's easy to assume that Pat Riley is the man for the job, there's no guarantee he will get that accomplished. But I assume he will because veteran players will continue to take less to play with LeBron.
On the same day Kobe was pulling his stunt against Phoenix, James set a new record for consecutive games with 30 points scored on better than 60 percent shooting. In that stretch of six games, James averaged one more assist/game versus his regular season average.
Against Oklahoma City, James extended his record until the shot clock wound down and he was stuck with the ball 27 feet from the basket. James chucked and missed. His last shot dropped his field goal percentage to just under 59. No record. That's why other players want to play with James.
The individual move would be to eat the ball and scream at a teammate for giving it to him late, therefore blaming someone else and preserving the streak. The team move is to shoot the ball to get the shot clock reset and worry about the win over self.
James chose team. Kobe chose self. I choose James.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf