LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are two of the greatest NBA players of all time.
Because of all their accomplishments, and in light of their storied places in Los Angeles Lakers history, the two are frequently compared.
Who had the better career? Who would win in a 1-on-1 showdown? These are questions that often get posed.
This week, Kevin Durant opted to weigh in on the debate. In his estimation, it’s very clear who would win a 1-on-1 battle between James and Bryant.
“If tough,” he said. “That’s tough. If I had to pick somebody, I’d pick Kobe. His one-on-one skills –he’s probably the best one-on-one player in the game.”
Interestingly enough, the respect between Bryant and Durant was always very mutual.
In fact, the Lakers legend frequently cited Durant as the one player he absolutely could not figure out defensively.
“That was the one that I retired without really being able to figure out what it is– how I can stop him,” Bryant said a few years ago. “When he first came into the league, he was easy to defend because he couldn’t go right and shoot. He shot kinda across his face so that was a weakness that he had.
“Also, in the post, he couldn’t turn left shoulder, everything was right shoulder so that gave me areas that I could shut off. Right then, he started developing so I developed it and now he can pull up left, he can pull upright, he can shoot the long ball, he has runners, left hand, right hand.
“Before he had a left-hand finish at the rim, I could always send him left, force him all the way to the basket, even with the advantages of besides, he was still uncomfortable finishing with his left so I could clamp the right hand, and now forced him into a tough situation. But now he’s developed that so I retired not being able to figure him out.”
Now that’s a Halloween costume. https://t.co/WVK6W11K9M
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 1, 2021
Bryant was undeniably one of the smartest minds in NBA history, so any time he weighed in on anything hoops-related, you know he put a lot of thought into it. His expertise and the overall loyalty he evoked is one of the contributing factors to why some took it so personally when someone tried to insult him in the streets of LA. It’s also why his incredible philosophy on missing shots continues to go viral. And why players tell stories about him to this day.
Bryant was a legend. And as good as James is, there’s a good chance he would’ve gotten worked 1-on-1 by Bryant due to sheer mental fortitude.