LeBron James has added another award in his impressive career. The 27-year-old native of Akron, Ohio, will join a list of elite players to have won the Most Valuable Player award three times in their careers.
According to NBA.com , LeBron joined legends such as Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the one of the few players to win the award three times in their careers.
The favourite debate of your typical NBA fan just got more interesting: who is better, LeBron or Kobe? Both of them are great players that will be first-ballot hall of famers when their respective careers are said and done, but who has a more impressive resume thus far?
Teammates and championships
For starters, it is important to take everything with a grain of salt. Sure, Kobe Bryant has 5 championships, but it is undeniable that he did it with a great amount of help; something LeBron did not have until he arrived to the Miami Heat.
Yes, even the best players need a Robin. Kareem and Magic needed each other. Shaq and Kobe needed each other. Kobe and Gasol need each other. Pippen and Jordan needed each other. But who did LeBron have? Was his sidekick in Cleveland as good as Pippen? Shaq? Kareem? Gasol? No is the simple answer.
Mo Williams, probably the best teammate LeBron ever had in a Cavs jersey, was a borderline All-Star. He was a very solid starting PG, and he still is a very a capable one in 2012. However, having him as a sidekick shows how that Cavs team was poorly built. "The King" never had a teammate that averaged more than 20 points per game when he was playing for the Cavaliers. Despite his mediocre teammates, James still led the Cavs to the best record in the NBA twice in his career and even carried that squad on his back all the way to the NBA finals in 2007.
Kobe also had poor teammates after Shaq left. However, the Lakers failed to get passed the first round with Kobe being the leader of a poor team.
Some might say that the Miami Heat had a failed in the 2010-2011 campaign because they did not win a championship. Although some might agree with that statement, it should also be noted that Shaq and Kobe did not win their first championship till their fourth season playing together. Pippen and Jordan also got their first rings in their fourth season playing as teammates.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are both great players when it comes to the playoffs. In the post-season, LeBron averages 28 points, 7 assists and 8.3 boards.
Kobe Bryant on the other hand, also averages 25.5 points per game, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the playoffs.
The biggest knock on LeBron is his finals performances. LeBron only averaged 17.8 points in last year's finals against the Mavs. James averaged 22 points per game in the 2007 Finals against the Spurs while shooting 35% from the field and turning the ball over almost 6 times per game in that series. He did however, average 7 assists and 7 rebounds in that series.
Contrary to popular belief, Bryant's finals stats isn't at an elite level either. In 6 finals series (pre 2010) , Bryant averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists while shooting 41% from the field. In the 2010 Finals, Bryant averaged great numbers: The Black Mamba averaged nearly 29 points per game, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. However, his 40.5% shooting from the field makes him look more like a volume scorer than the "closest thing to Michael Jordan".
In his career, Kobe averages 25.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 45.3% from the field. LeBron bests him in all of these major categories: James averages 27.6 points, 6.9 assists, 7.2 rebounds and a 48.3% field goal percentage.
Bryant has arguably achieved more in his career than LeBron. However, Kobe did play 7 more seasons than LeBron.
Bryant is a one time MVP winner, 2 time scoring champ, 14 time all-star, made the all NBA first-team 9 times and is a 9 time recipient of the all-NBA first defensive team honors . He also has 5 NBA titles under his belt as well as 2 finals MVPs.
LeBron James, unlike Kobe, won a rookie of the year award. In addition, he is a 3 time MVP winner, 8 time all-star, 5 time all-nba first team and a 3 time all-NBA first defensive team.
It is undeniable that LeBron James, had Cleveland built a better team around him and gave him a reliable sidekick, would`ve had a few championships under his belt as well as a few finals MVP awards.
Like them or not, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will both be first-ballot Hall of Famers. However, who would you like better on your team, if you had to build one? A man who has carried a poorly-built team to the finals and led the team to the best record of the NBA twice? Or a man who was given the best situation possible, in which a hall of fame coach and probably the most dominant big man the game has ever seen was rewarded to him in the early stages of his career?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com