Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two of the greatest players to ever play the sport of basketball. Because both went pro immediately after high school, their careers are linked together in a way they could never be with Michael Jordan.
Inevitably, comparisons between the two have raged for nearly two decades. Although they never got to face off against one another in the NBA Finals, Bryant once explained what would happen in a 1-on-1 match-up between the pair. Right around that time, James famously excluded Bryant from his top-three GOAT list.
The topic of who was better between them was unavoidable in the 2010s. So much so, in fact, that even NBA legend Jerry West weighed in.
Back in 2009, West addressed the topic of who is better between James and Bryant head-on.
“Who is better? To me, it’s a no-brainer, it’s LeBron James,” West said in that interview.
Context matters. Bryant didn’t win his fourth NBA title until 2009, whereas James wasn’t even a champion at that point. He wouldn’t win his first one until 2012 – two years after joining the Miami Heat.
That means West was essentially anointing James before he had even proven himself to be capable of being a champion in the NBA.
Fast forward to 2021. James is now a four-time champ, still one shy of Bryant’s five. Does that make him better or worse? That’s a matter of personal opinion.
Pray for LaMelo. https://t.co/19CUdeNwCM
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 1, 2021
Interestingly enough, West wasn’t the first person to venture into the complex conversation of comparing Bryant and James. Michael Jordan also famously weighed in on who was better out of the two.
Regardless of where people stand on this debate, this much is undeniable: Bryant and James are absolute legends, and hoops fans from this generation are extremely fortunate to have been able to witness two all-time greats in the primes of their careers.