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Sports

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’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTjeRZY2Uhg

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diCtJ-tdA5o

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

Categories
Sports

Is LeBron James the most polarizing NBA athlete of all-time?

It’s possible.

Lebron has in my experience, surpassed Kobe as the most polarizing NBA player of all time – measured by the amount of people who idolize him vs the amount that hate him.

I would say that while Kobe has many haters, there are still way more fans than haters, judging from the amount of Kobe worship on social media. Basically any time is Kobe is not brought up in any conversation, their fans will say ‘the disrespect to Kobe! but what about Kobe! Did y’all forget about the Mamba!???’ etc so while Kobe is polarizing, I would say he’s still a net positive athlete in his image. His death earlier this year (RIP) just reflected how idolized he was around the world. Kobe’s positive traits (his 5 rings, scoring accolades, “mamba mentality”, work ethic) tends to be much more well remembered than his negative ones (most missed shots all time, not the easiest teammate to get along with, missing the playoffs in his prime, losing a series while up 3–1 etc).

Another example of how much more net positive Kobe is viewed than Lebron is seen in the fact that Lebron gets blamed for not meeting Kobe in the Finals – because he lost in 2009 to the Orlando Magic – despite that team being completely carried by Lebron and nowhere near a Finals caliber team. Whereas Kobe gets absolutely no blame for getting swept in 2011 to the same Dallas Mavs team – and FYI guarded by Jason Terry (who actually guarded Kobe, not Lebron since he’s an SG) – that people criticized Lebron for losing to in 6 games. Kobe could have met Lebron in the Finals that year – and he was the defending champ that year – and no one ever brings this up but brings up Lebron’s 2009 loss to the Magic.

Lebron on the other hand – seems to have more haters than idols. I’m in several basketball social media groups, I’m active on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc and let me tell you the amount of people that hate on him is just ridiculous. There’s literally people on social media who dedicate each and every day to making some kind of hate meme or post about him. Then they will call anyone who defends Lebron a ‘bronsexual’ which is both immature and childish. And it’s always about the exact same reasons too, “Lebron joined a superteam” “Lebron needed help to win” “Lebron is soft, whines and is a crybaby” “Lebron is 3–6 in the Finals and is the biggest loser ever” “Lebron choked in the 2011 Finals” etc like a broken record.

Contrary to Kobe, these people focus on Lebron’s negative traits and never his positive ones, never ever praise him when he wins, and always blames him when he loses. When Lebron wins, it’s always his teammates carrying him. When Lebron loses, it’s always his fault. For Kobe, it’s the opposite – whenever he wins, it’s all Kobe and his mamba mentality doing the work. Whenever he loses, it’s because his teammates didn’t step up or were crap (Smush Parker and Kwame Brown always get brought up despite the fact that Lamar Odom was a pretty good player as well).

Also, people always hate on Lebron for only scoring 8 pts in a Finals game in 2011, well there’s lots of other greats who have similar bad performances in the Finals that never get brought up. Kareem got demolished by Moses Malone in 1983 Finals, Magic turned into ‘Tragic’ in the 1984 Finals, Bird had only 8 points in game 3 of the 1981 Finals, Kobe only had 8 points in game 5 of the 2000 Finals and also shot 38% in the 2004 Finals and shot 6 for 24 in the 2010 Finals game 7, Wilt had perennially choking performances in the playoffs and Finals, Duncan missed that potential game winning layup in the 2013 Finals etc in fact out of the top 10 players in NBA history only Russell and Jordan could be considered ‘truly’ clutch as they had next to no bad performances in the Finals.

Heck the Finals record as a measuring stick, came into being because of Lebron. Prior to 2014, no one on social media ever talked about Finals record for any other player. Not Kareem, not Magic, not Bird. But because of Lebron, now they start talking about Finals records – the reason being that they can take an accomplishment that is uniquely Lebron’s – going to more Finals than any other player in recent history – and turn it into a negative. And it’s one that Lebron can never win, because his teams were always outmatched in the Finals, and his own teams always overachieved, it’s a way the haters can turn something that would be celebrated for any other player (for example, Iverson’s lone Finals appearance is considered the crowning achievement of his career despite him losing), and turn it into a point to criticize. It’s also implying that losing before the Finals would actually be better in order to preserve the Finals record – but that idea is blatantly ridiculous, as anyone who has played sports knows. You play to win and in order to win you have to reach the Finals. Only one team can win, so there’s of course a chance to lose. But to focus on Finals records implies that missing the playoffs would actually be better. That makes no sense.

There’s literally nothing Lebron can do to better his image with these haters. If Lebron himself didn’t do well, then it’s because he choked and lacked ‘killer instinct’. If Lebron’s teammates didn’t do well, it’s because Lebron is a toxic teammate and didn’t make them better. If Lebron does well, it’s because he flopped and referees favored him and he ‘stat padded’. If his teammates do well, it’s because Lebron needed to form a ‘superteam’ to win and they ‘saved his legacy’. It’s a lose-lose situation whatever Lebron does.

Why do so many people on social media spend their every waking moment to hate on him? If I had to guess there’s a few reasons:

-Lebron gets too much media attention, and people get annoyed by that
-Lebron’s too successful, and that makes people envious of him
-They don’t like Lebron’s fanbase and thus they don’t like Lebron either for creating that fanbase
-Lebron is threatening their favorite idol (usually Jordan or Kobe) and they don’t like that Lebron has a chance or is currently surpassing their idol’s legacy
-Lebron habitually beat their favorite teams (usually the Raptors or Celtics but pretty much any team since Lebron has a winning record against almost every team)
-Recency bias. Lebron is fresh in people’s memories, and whatever he does on the court (or even off the court – I even read some posts where people blamed Lebron for Nike’s sweatshops, said he was a communist sympathizer and letting his son smoke weed which is ridiculous) is scrutinized unlike any other player before. Jordan played in an era without social media, and Kobe’s era was when social media was just starting. They never had the microscope of billions of users like Lebron does.

I can’t explain any other reason why these people would spend so much time to make hate memes and posts every day, it’s not like Lebron ever did anything to them personally or anything, and perhaps it’s proof of how successful Lebron is that he has so many haters. For example nobody hates on John Paxson or Kyle Korver – because they are not superstars. Only successful athletes become hated.

Categories
Sports

Why do so many people hate on Lebron, when he’s one of the greatest ever?

They see Lebron as a threat to their favorite player growing up, which for most people is Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. Older fans may see him as a threat to Kareem or Magic or Bird as well. Lebron’s greatness is undeniable, his stats and awards rank him among the top 5 in NBA history for sure.

But since its the social media age, people got to pick apart everything he does. If he misses 2 free throws he’s suddenly the ‘worst clutch free throw shooter ever’. If Lebron suffers a cramp and has to be carried off court he is ‘weak and feminine’. If Lebron flops on a foul, he is called ‘LeBitch or Queen James’. If someone else took the last shot in a game (Ray Allen or Kyrie Irving) then they ‘saved’ Lebron’s legacy. People also make fun of Lebron’s Finals record, even though basketball is a team game, and making the Finals is better than losing before the Finals or not making the playoffs, but for these haters it doesn’t matter, they just need a reason to hate Lebron.

With older players not only did they not have social media to deal with, their highlights constantly get played on Youtube etc so when modern fans look at older players all they see is their best moments, so its no wonder that there’s a trend that the more modern a player is, the more likely he is to be hated, and the greater he is (I.e Lebron, Durant etc) the more hated he will be.