Who is a better basketball player: LeBron James or Kobe Bryant?

Lebron James.

It’s honestly not even close. It someone irks me that so many casual fans and die hard Laker fans still want to keep Kobe in the GOAT discussion, but Kobe just isn’t in that discussion.

Let’s go over the reasons why Lebron is better:

  1. Lebron has more awards. Lebron has more MVPs, FMVPs, a ROTY, more All-NBA selections and he’s only 2 All-Star selections away from Kobe as well. The FMVPs especially matter since Kobe was not the best player on 3 of his championship teams while Lebron was the best player on all 4 of his.
  2. Lebron beats Kobe statistically in every category except for FT% (which lets be honest, Kobe has an advantage as a guard). Lebron beats Kobe in total points, total rebounds, total assists, total blocks, total steals, PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG, FG%, TS%, Win shares, PER etc whatever stat you name. Lebron is ahead of Kobe in.

Those are the two main reasons why Lebron is better than Kobe, and those two reasons should be good enough for most people, but Kobe fans aren’t most people, I know there’s these ‘intangibles’ that people will argue for Kobe over Lebron on, so I’ll address some Kobe fan’s remarks here:

“Kobe should be in the GOAT convo, put some respect on the Mamba!”

Sorry, he’s not. He’s about the same level as Hakeem, and Hakeem is never mentioned in the GOAT convo. Also, Kareem, Duncan, Bird and Magic are all ahead of Kobe and never mentioned in the GOAT convo and I don’t hear their fans complaining.

“Kobe is more loyal than Lebron. Lebron always jumps teams to chase championships and Kobe bled purple and gold”

Well, that’s not true. There’s multiple instances where Kobe requested a trade from the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant confirms he wanted trade in 2007 to the Chicago Bulls

Phil Jackson Says Kobe Bryant Requested Trade from Lakers During 1999-00 Season

At the time Kobe had a bad squad and wanted out of LA. So it’s a misconception that Kobe was a die hard Laker.

“Kobe is more clutch than Lebron and has more killer instinct”

First of all what is killer instinct anyways? Is it always taking the last shot? Because Kobe factually is not as clutch as Lebron is.

Kobe might be the least clutch player in the NBA

The truth about Kobe Bryant in crunch time

Disproving Five Myths about Kobe Bryant | Def Pen

LeBron James Clutch Stats vs Kobe Bryant Clutch Stats – The Ball Zone

LeBron is More Clutch Than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

LeBron May Be The Most Clutch Playoff Shooter Of His Generation

These are just some of the numerous stats that prove that Lebron is actually more clutch than Kobe is. Kobe’s clutch reputation is mostly based on myth more so than fact.

Kobe has never had any playoff moments as memorable as Lebron scoring the last 29 out of 30 points against Detroit in 2007, or that chasedown block against Iggy in the 2016 Finals. People seem to assume Kobe is more clutch based on the fact that Kobe is very aggressive and eager to shoot the last shot, whereas Lebron tries to make the right basketball play. However, they don’t seem to understand that taking the last shot regardless of basketball position usually leads to missed baskets, which has happened with Kobe far more often than he has made those baskets.

“Kobe never needed a superteam to win”

Well, first of all – if you have prime Shaq do you really need a bunch of lesser HoFers on your team? The team is already good just having prime Shaq as a teammate right? Later on in Kobe’s career, he had to have exactly the right team built around him win. Namely, a team full of players who are excellent rebounders and without big egos to clash with Kobe. Oh and it has to be a triangle offense system too because Kobe would never pass the ball to anyone else.

Also the statement is factually untrue because the 2004 Lakers and 2013 Lakers by the definition of having more than 2 HoFers on the team, can be called a ‘superteam’, it’s just that they weren’t successful, because most superteams are not successful. 1997 Rockets, 2020 Clippers are two other examples. Turns out Lebron is quite the exception since he elevates everyone else around him. Even Rondo and Dwight who people wrote off before this year started, became champions when they played with Lebron. Don’t think that would have happened with Kobe (because we know it didnt work with Kobe, twice).

And plus let’s look at Kobe’s Finals opponents – 2000 Pacers, 2001 76ers, 2002 Nets, 2009 Magic, 2010 Celtics. The only one out of that group that can be considered even remotely challenging is the 2010 Celtics – and that group could be considered just as old as the 2014 Spurs everyone makes fun of Lebron for losing against, age-wise.

Lebron’s best teammate was 2011 DWade, then 2020 Anthony Davis. Wade would decline after 2012. Kyrie was not on the same level, and Love and Bosh just weren’t as good as people like to think. Plus look at Lebron’s Finals opponents – the only ‘easy’ one was the 2020 Heat. Kobe has never had to face a team as hard as the 2015–2019 Warriors, or the 2013–2014 Spurs.

“Kobe never had a Finals game as bad as Lebron did in 2011”

Kobe has had multiple Finals games arguably worse than Lebron’s 2011 Finals performance.

2000 Finals, Game 5 – Kobe had 8 points. Everyone who makes fun of Lebron’s 8 points in the 2011 Finals – well Kobe matched that here and no one ever brings this up. Kobe also averaged 15 PPG this series – lower than Lebron’s 17 PPG in 2011.

2004 Finals – Kobe shot 38% for the entire series. Including only 11 points on 31% in Game 3. Lebron has never had a Finals series that inefficient. Oh BTW – Kobe had 4 HoFers on that team and lost to a team with one all star. I really think the 2004 Finals was just as much an upset as the 2011 Finals.

2008 Finals, Game 4 – Kobe got 17 points on 31% shooting. That’s pretty awful.

2010 Finals, Game 7 – Kobe shot 6 for 24 that game. If it wasn’t for Gasol and Artest with some key moment plays that game, it would have ended in a loss.

“Lebron dropped the ball in 2009 to meet Kobe in the Finals”

This one irks me a lot because was Lebron supposed to make the Finals with his second best player being Mo Williams? That team was high in the regular season sure, but it wasn’t built for the playoffs. It was basically carried by Lebron. That he lost to Dwight Howard in 2009 wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. Dwight Howard was really really good in 2009 – people forget.

Also I think the more important question I have is why is Lebron being blamed for 2009 when Kobe had a chance to meet Lebron in 2011 and dropped the ball there and that never gets mentioned?
People always trash Lebron for losing to the 2011 Mavericks but Kobe lost to the exact same team as the defending champs – and got swept by them no less! And if you want to bring up Jason Terry’s stats against Lebron, you really should bring up the fact that Kobe and Terry were actually guarding each other – cause they actually played the same position! Lebron didn’t directly guard Terry, they played different positions.

“Lebron always takes credit when he wins, and blames others when he loses. He’s a toxic teammate. Kobe is a better leader.”

This one is possibly the most untrue of them all. Lebron has never ever blamed any teammates, no matter how badly they performed. And Lebron’s teammates have been just as bad as Kobe’s. Don’t let Kobe fans tell you that Smush Parker and Kwame Brown were the worst players in NBA history. They were not.

From 2003–2008, Lebron’s best teammate was Zyndrunas Ilgauskas. He took the 2007 team all the way to the Finals.

From 2009–2010, Lebron’s best teammate was Mo Williams. He won 66 games in the regular season with him as the second best player.

Kobe’s team was bad, but his second best teammate was Lamar Odom. Odom is better than either Zydrunas or Mo Williams, I’m sure anyone will tell you that. Odom was a very capable player, it’s just that Kobe fans want to focus on Smush and Kwame, well did you know Lebron played with guys like Daniel Gibson and Eric Snow? Arguably just as bad as Smush and Kwame.

Kobe’s best performance with that team was when he went up 3–1 against the Suns in 2006 in the first round, but then inexplicably stopped shooting the ball in the Game 7. Kobe fans tell me it was to ‘spite Phil Jackson’ but there’s no excuse for acting that way in any game. The only comparable times was when Rick Barry stopped shooting in Game 7 against the Suns in 1976 because his teammates didn’t back him in the fight, and when Pippen got angry at Phil for a play drawn up for Toni Kukoc in the 1994 series against the Knicks. Lebron has had no such temper tantrums.

Plus – Kobe’s fans often say he was robbed of MVP that year. Well, if you can’t make it past the first round, if you can’t elevate your teammates that much, how much of an MVP can you be right? And it’s reflected in the voting – Kobe was not on the MVP ballot in 2005 (no it was not related to the rape case, it was because he missed the playoffs), and in 2006 he was 4th place in MVP voting. So much for being robbed by Steve Nash. Lebron on the other hand took his pitiful teammates all the way to the Finals. That’s the difference.

Also, people like to talk about Lebron missing the playoffs in 2019 despite tearing his groin. Kobe missed the playoffs in the middle of his prime. It’s not like his teammates were any worse than Lebron’s teammates in 2019. Explain that.

In addition, Kobe has infamously cursed out his teammates and trashed talked them in various interviews.

Kobe explains why he and Howard never got along

Kobe Bryant blames Pau Gasol for Lakers’ Game 4 collapse against Thunder

Kobe Bryant calls ex-teammate Smush Parker ‘the worst,’ jokingly chides the Lakers for letting him ‘walk on’

Lebron has never ever trashed his teammates publicly. Even when his teammates had a brain fart, like JR Smith did in 2018 Finals Game 1, or Markieff Morris in 2020 Finals Game 5. Kobe would have trashed them and ruined their careers. Instead, we have seen JR Smith welcomed back by Lebron and winning another ring, and Dwight’s career have a resurgence with Lebron.

There’s a reason why Lebron is able to ‘recruit’ other players to play with him – it’s because everyone wants to play with him! From AD to Rondo to Danny Green to McGee to Demarcus to former rivals like Lance Stephenson – they all want to come to LA to play with Lebron! In contrast – due to both Kobe’s personality and the fact that he had signed a huge contract with the Lakers post-injury depriving them of any cap space – the Lakers had been unable to acquire any big name free agents for 5 years after Kobe came back from injury.

There seems to be a double standard with Kobe and Lebron. Anything Kobe does that is arrogant or ego-tistic is played off by Kobe fans as being ‘alpha’ or having ‘mamba mentality’ whereas if Lebron had acted the exact same way he would be called ‘arrogant’ and ‘prima donna’.

Lebron called himself the GOAT you say? What an egotistical prima-donna.

Kobe Bryant labelled himself the greatest of all time, ahead of Michael Jordan and LeBron – Republic World

^ Kobe called himself the same thing? It’s ok, we’ll brush it off because it’s Kobe.

All this is to conclude that I think Kobe’s negative traits and aspects get downplayed or brushed off by Kobe fans. He never ever gets the blame, meanwhile his fans always blame Kobe’s teammates instead. Dwight Howard was soft. Steve Nash was past his prime. Malone and Payton was past their prime. Shaq wasn’t in shape. Smush and Kwame were the worst players of all time. Kobe was just trying to teach Phil Jackson a lesson. Kobe was being tough on his teammates to toughen them up. Whenever Kobe wins a ring, it’s all him. 5 rings that’s all Kobe’s. Kobe carried the 2009–2010 teams. The rest of that team were scrubs.

Meanwhile for Lebron, it’s the opposite. He always gets the blame, his teammates never get any blame. Missed the playoffs? All because Lebron couldn’t elevate his teammates. Lost in the Finals? Because Lebron choked. Who cares if his teammates were injured, it was all Lebron’s fault. Won a championship? Well he needed help to win. He had a stacked team. He recruited too many superstars. His Finals path was too easy. He shouldn’t have passed the ball to Danny Green, he was too ‘scared’ of the moment. Kobe would never have done that. Also, Ray Allen and Kyrie Irving saved his legacy. Derek Fisher and Robert Horry’s shots? pretend it never happened. Kobe never needed anybody else taking the last shots. Of course not.

See what I mean?

Anyways, all this is to show that 1) Lebron is definitely better than Kobe and 2) Kobe fans are delusional and overrate the man quite a bit


Who is statistically/overall the better basketball player, Kobe or LeBron?

Lebron James.

PPG: Lebron (27.2) > Kobe (25.0)

RPG: Lebron (7.4) > Kobe (5.2)

APG: Lebron (7.2) > Kobe (4.7)

SPG: Lebron (1.6) > Kobe (1.4)

BPG: Lebron (0.8) > Kobe (0.5)

FG%: Lebron (50%) > Kobe (44%)

3PT%: Lebron (34%) > Kobe (33%)

FT%: Kobe (83%) > Lebron (73%)

Playoffs PPG: Lebron (28.9) > Kobe (25.6)

Playoffs RPG: Lebron (8.9) > Kobe (5.1)

Playoffs APG: Lebron (7.1) > Kobe (4.7)

Playoffs SPG: Lebron (1.8) > Kobe (1.4)

Playoffs BPG: Lebron (1.0) > Kobe (0.7)

True shooting %: Lebron (58%) > Kobe (55%)

Win Shares: Lebron (226) > Kobe (172)

PER: Lebron (27.6) > Kobe (22.9)

VORP: Lebron (130) > Kobe (72)

Win Shares per 48: Lebron (0.23) > Kobe (0.17)

Kobe cannot win any statistical comparison with Lebron.. Kobe fans have to resort to either the ring argument or ‘mamba mentality/killer instinct’ argument to place him over Lebron.

and we can also take a look at the awards

MVPs: Lebron (4) > Kobe (1)

Finals MVPs: Lebron (3) > Kobe (2)

Rings: Kobe (5) > Lebron (3)

All-Star: Kobe (18) > Lebron (15)

All-NBA: Lebron (14) > Kobe (13)

All-Defensive: Kobe (12 ) > Lebron (6)

Rookie of the Year: Lebron (1) > Kobe (0)

Scoring Titles: Kobe (2) > Lebron (1)


Kobe Bryant is overrated, period. And Lebron/Duncan > Kobe

Alot of people got butthurt when ESPN came out with their rankings and Kobe was *gasp* only #12. I’m not surprised at all, and I mentioned this before, but hey people like to flame me because I have facts and their only response to me not having Kobe top 5 all time is “you don’t know basketball”. So here’s my basketball knowledge:

Kobe bryant is overrated:
-career average: 25/5/5 45% 2P FG 33% FG 3P
-record lowest FG % in Finals: 38% in 2000, and highest: 51% in 2009
-81 point game yes but also against the raptors and took 46 shots
-Kobe in general takes a lot of FGA, 9 times in a game took over 40 shots
-selfish player, ball hog, drove shaq and d-howard away from LA as well as other free agents, wouldn’t take a pay cut in his later years
-1 MVP only, and 2 Finals MVPs if you take off his rings thats his only other hardware
-had good teams for most of his career despite what people say: only 2005-2007 and 2013-present he has crap teams
-5 championships but he won all 5 coached by Phil Jackson and his first 3 rings with Shaq who dominated the playoffs with 30/14 averages
-Lebron has never played with a team as good as Kobe had except when he was in Miami. Duncan played with a washed up Robinson and some late round picks. -He had good role players but so did Kobe. Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry. Plus hall of famers like Pau Gasol, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaq, D-howard, Nash. Neither Lebron nor Duncan has had the arguably greatest coach of all time, Phil Jackson.
-closest to MJ but very far away from MJ still in terms of everything, stats, awards etc 8 less scoring titles 1 less ring 4 less MVPs/FMVPs lower career stats in every category
-not a good team player, ego drove away Shaq + Howard, took 25 mil salary, prevents young stars from being developed.
-no other top 10 player was a second option or a role player ever in their career.
-lost 2 finals, one on a team full of hall of famers against detroit and one against the celtics losing by the biggest margin in NBA finals history.
-statistically not clutch despite the popular perception that he is

Why is Lebron hated so much?
-because he left to go a team full of other stars? In the salary cap era its hard to start on a team already full of good players like Magic and Bird did. Furthermore, only a few championship teams have ever had only one hall of famer. the 77 Blazers with Walton, 79 supersonics with Dennis Johnson and 94 Rockets with Hakeem come to mind. You could make a case for the 75 Warriors, 04 Pistons and 11 Mavericks as well.
-Kobe and Duncan didn’t have to do this because Kobe did start on a very good team with Shaq and Duncan started on a team with Robinson. Lebron started with nothing and had nothing in the years to come. The cavaliers management gave him nothing.
-His 2-4 record in the finals. first of all, we don’t count finals losses. Jerry West had 8 finals losses and no one calls him out for that. Wilt Chamberlain has the same 2-4 record as Lebron and no one cares about those losses. Second of all, only one of those finals is really Lebrons fault. the 2011 finals he should have won and came up short. That was his fault. But the 07 Cavaliers he carried that team to the finals, remember when he scored 29 of the last 30 points against Detroit that year? and the ’14 Finals D-wade was injured and the Spurs team was just superior that year. Same with last finals, Kyrie irving and kevin love were injured and Lebron took the Warriors to 6 games with averages of 36/14/9. We can’t really say Lebron didn’t try in the finals, cause he did. (except in 2011)
-statistically beats Kobe in every way, FG%, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, except for FT% the only area where he trails Kobe.
-Kobe has more rings but I already covered that it wasn’t Lebrons fault he lost 3 of those Finals. And he never had anyone like Prime Shaq or Phil Jackson to help him. He does have 3 more MVPs than Kobe does. There are those people who say that MVPs mean nothing and Kobe was robbed of MVPs when I say this, and imo thats just trying really really hard to be a Kobe fanboy. Kobe never was top 3 in MVP votes except in 2008. Kobe never even deserved the 2008 MVP; it should have gone to CP3. At no point in his career was Kobe actually the best player in the game if we look at WP48 and win shares. Duncan, Shaq and Lebron have held that title throughout Kobes career and arguably even Tmac and Dwade were better than Kobe at some point in their careers.
-more clutch than kobe; stats bear this out
-finally, Lebron attracts free agents to play with him (ray allen mike miller etc) whereas Kobe drives away free agents (melo,aldridge, etc) and took a huge salary increase despite the fact that he was injured which gave the Lakers less salary cap to sign free agents; conversely Lebron took a pay cut while in Miami to play with Chris bosh and D-wade

As a side note, here’s what Kobetards usually say when I compare him to Lebron:
1) Kobe has 5 rings.
2) Kobe’s scoring achivements including 81 point game, and scoring 60 points 5+ times in a row etc
3) Kobe is clutch and has killer instinct
4) Kobe is 5-2 in the finals and Lebron is 2-4.
5) Kobe bled purple and gold
6) Kobe was robbed of MVPs
7) Kobe didn’t need another superstar to win
8) Kobe carried his franchise

1) so what? Russell, Sam Jones, Havlicek, Heinsohn, Kareem, Jordan, Duncan all have 5+ rings no one ever brings up rings as much for them. Why do people always mention Kobe’s rings? Because he has every little other hardware, only 1 MVP and 2 finals mvps are probably not going to be as mentioned as much. And despite that fact that Kobe won 3 out of his 5 rings riding with Shaq. No other top 10 player in NBA rankings has ever been a second option or a role player in their career. Kobe has only been a first option for 8 years of his career and people bring up Kobe’s rings the most out of any player even though he has the least reason to brag about them
2) Kobe’s scoring achievements – he also missed the most shots in NBA history what does that tell you? How many shots did Kobe have to take on 45% efficiency in regular season and 40% in the Finals to get to where he is? What does it tell you about the basketball IQ of a player if he purposely takes difficult shots when easier shots are available or when he could pass to an open player?
3) Kobe is not clutch and has missed the most clutch shots out of any top 10 player. I already mentioned this in my other video, go take a look if you want detailed stats, but you can also google Kobe crunchtime stats if you don’t believe me. Kobe has averaged 40% FG during his Finals performances.
4) Again this is related to Kobe’s rings again, but as I said no one cares about finals losses. Wilt chamberlain has the same record as Lebron, 2-4 in the Finals, are you going to argue that Kobe is better than Wilt? John Havlicek is 8-0 in finals and Jordan is 6-0 you wanna argue that Havlicek was better than Jordan? its ridiculous. And Kobe has more first round losses than Lebron I guess that doesn’t count? Since when is losing in the Finals worse than losing in the first round? You make it to the Finals, you have a chance to win, and thats strictly better than having 0% chance to win. That simple.
5) No he wasn’t. When Kobe had a bad team from 2005-2007 (which was his own doing cause he drove Shaq out), he wanted to be traded, including to the Clippers! how soon people forget.
Kobe has probably the most ignorant fan base out of all sports.
6) Kobe was never robbed of MVPs, he was never top 3 in voting except for the year he did win MVP. If anything, Nash robbed Shaq of MVPs not Kobe.
7) sure he did. Ever heard of Shaq? and Pau Gasol? And without those guys, Kobe has never gotten out of the first round of the playoffs. And he also had Phil Jackson as well
8) Kobe led 4 out of the 6 worst Lakers teams in NBA history, took the leagues highest salary, shot the most bricks in NBA history, the lowest FG% out of any player in the NBA during the last 2 years and his farewell tour prevents young stars from developing.

I’ve already explained why Lebron and Duncan are better in pretty much every way, from stats to efficiency to being less selfish, so I’m done with that. Kobe is ranked fairly here. He is not top 10 all time. I’m ok with Oscar Robertson being higher. I’m assuming ESPN was using advanced metrics like PER and win shares to rank him, which arent favorable to him, which is why he’s ranked even lower than I expected. It also explains why Iverson and Isiah are ranked lower because those are 2 other players that are very overrated by the public because of the ‘eye’ test, leading you to believe a player was better than they actually were.


Sorry to say it, but its the truth. Kobe has many accomplishments and he is a top 12 – top 8 player all time, but he will never get ranked above that. Why?

-A top 5 player of all time should have more than 1 MVP. Kobe only has one.

-A top 5 player all time should be the alpha dog for almost all his career. Kobe was not the alpha dog or the best player on his team until 2004-ish. Shaq won all three Finals MVPs (deservedly so when you look at his stats) during the first part of his career.

-A top 5 player all time, especially if he is to be considered the best “mid range shooter ever” should be more efficient than shooting 45% from the field and 33% from 3 point range. For comparison, Larry Bird and Dwayne Wade shot 4% better than Kobe from the field, and Adrian Dantley (probably the most efficient mid range shooter I think) shot an astounding 54% from the field, a whole 9% better than Kobe!

-Because of how inefficient Kobe shoots, his advance stats suffer. A top 5 player of all time would never have a PER of a measly 10.7 (Kobe during 2014 season), or produce NEGATIVE win shares for his team (as he did in 2014 and 2016).

-on top of that Kobe isn’t really as clutch as people think. There are numerous articles that prove this. here are just a few:
Kobe might be the least clutch player in the NBA
The truth about Kobe Bryant in crunch time
LeBron May Be The Most Clutch Playoff Shooter Of His Generation
In the Playoffs, LeBron James Is More Clutch than Kobe

-a top 5 player all time is a good teammate, like Lebron, or Russell, or Wilt/Jordan later in their careers, or Bird, or Magic or Kareem. Instead, Kobe chased Shaq off the team, had numerous locker room issues, chased away free agents during the later part of his career, took a massive salary (the highest at the time) after he got injured, etc

-Kobe in his prime never took his team past the first round of the playoffs until he got Pau Gasol on the team, who I think doesn’t get enough credit for helping the Lakers out. People don’t realize that Gasol was the leader in win shares in 2010 even though Kobe got Finals MVP that year. For all the hate Lebron gets, he took his team all the way to the Finals. It was probably one of the worst teams to make the Finals (yes even worse than 2001 Iverson’s team). Without Shaq/Gasol and Phil Jackson, Kobe couldn’t take his team anywhere. Thats not top 5 player material.

-He doesn’t have any definable moments. Lebron scored the last 29 out of 30 points against the Pistons in 2007, averaged a triple double in the Finals etc. Jordan had numerous great moments. Kareem had that clutch last minute skyhook to force double overtime in the 1974 Finals. Magic had that clutch baby skyhook in 1987 against the Celtics, and that amazing Finals performance as a rookie in 1980. Kobe has that 81 point game going for him – but that’s a regular season game, and it was against a terrible team. that’s about it.

For all the reasons above I don’t think Kobe is a top 5 player all time. (and no I’m not a Kobe hater, I’m just stating the facts. Kobe ranks #9 all time for me).