Blog by Haz Bey
Everybody in America is debating who the best player in today's game is. The only two names that comes to people's minds are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Everybody wants to compare one to another, but is it really fair to compare the two? I do not believe so. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two different types of players. Kobe is an assassin on the court and can care less if you like him or not. LeBron is a pass-first superstar, who has a desire to be liked by all. Their personalities are equivalent to how they play on the court. So to really compare them is ultimately what you base your best player in the NBA on.
I base the best player in the league on maximizing your ability to team success. They are a lot of talented, special players in this league, but we all know who the elite players are. You have Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Carmello Anthony, Chris Paul & Dirk Nowitzki. All those players mentioned would be considered elite players in this league without hesitation or argument, but when in it comes to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, they seem to be on a step above the elite just on ability alone. It's no secret that LeBron is the most talented player to ever play in the NBA. No one else has never been blessed to possess the size, speed, agility, athleticism & skill set that LeBron possesses. That is why there was and will always be hype surrounded behind him from his days in high school until his playing days are over. But you can't be the best player in the league just because of talent, you have to have the stats to back it up. LeBron is a walking triple-double. His career numbers of 27 ppg, 7 rpg & 7 apg are Hall of Fame worthy for just the 8 plus years the 2-time regular season MVP has played already. His numbers are even slightly better in the playoffs, but he has nothing to show for it. Players of his caliber win championships, multiple championships. MJ, Magic, Bird... KOBE.
Kobe Bryant is a scorer 1st and foremost. Kobe's gifts giving to him was the ability to put the basketball in the hoop 100 different ways. Kobe does not have a conscience and is not afraid of failure. Kobe path do greatness is different than most superstars. Kobe was not even a lottery pick and was traded to the Lakers on draft night. He wasn't his class' rookie of the year. He started in the All Star Game while coming off the bench in his 2nd season. By the end of his 4th season in his career he was a champion, but was the teams 2nd option with Shaq dominating the paint. He had to just not battle the competition, but another superstar on his team for team supremacy of the league's best team for while the Lakers won 3 straight championship while reaching the Finals 4 out of 5 years. He was accused of rape, then later dismissed of those charges. He basically traded away Shaquille O'Neal to Miami to begin a life as the only alpha dog. He was robbed of an MVP in 2006. He asked to be traded in 2007, but then reached the Finals on his way to capturing his only regular season MVP. Won 2 more titles to reach 5 rings, matching Magic and 1 behind MJ by beating Orlando and hated rival Boston in back to back seasons. And through all that Kobe has to deal with ESPN ranking him as the 7th best player in the league only a year later. Puzzling, because all Kobe has down is average 25 ppg, 5 rpg & 4 apg for his 16 seasons. Not the mention winning 5 championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 regular season MVP, 2 scoring titles, 13 All Star appearances, 4 All Star MVPs, 9 1st Team All NBA selections, 9 1st Team All Defense selections & he has even scored 81 points in a single game. Kobe's resume is as good as anyone that has ever played the game and yet he is still even in his 16th season leading the league in scoring with 30.4 ppg. But guess who's right behind him averaging 29.9 ppg fresh off of beating the "Black Mamba" head to head, you guessed it, LeBron James.
Last night's game in Miami was what everyone around the country was looking for. Finally the talk on who was better would be determined. No it wasn't, but LeBron did make a statement. LeBron made it known that he can effortlessly impact the game and get his numbers, (31pts, 8rebs, 8ast & 4stl). He was the best player on the court last night without any doubts. Kobe had a huge 4th quarter on his way to 24 points, 7 assist, 5 rebounds & 3 steals. But LeBron led the Heat to a 21 point lead entering the 4th quarter and the game was basically over at that point. What did we learn from that game? Well, the Heat at this point of the season is a superior team compared to the Lakers. This is not my opinion, this is fact. The Lakers losses of Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown proved to be key to the Lakers woes in trying to score off the bench. The Lakers are not getting the production they need to compete with Miami's of the world, period. As far as who the best player in the league right now, it is still Kobe Bryant. When you are the best, someone must take that title from you. LeBron has been in that position for about 3 years now, but his playoff disappointments have kept him down. This year there will have to be no excuses for LeBron and the Miami Heat to not win a title this year. When healthy, the Heat are just too talented to contain for 48 minutes on both sides of the ball. I predict LeBron will win that elusive title and surpass Kobe Bryant once and for all for the title of the league's best player. Sorry Kobe, but if you don't lead your Lakers to a Finals victory this season, than your mantle will be passed on. There is a new "King" in the waiting and he seems primed on getting crowned by season's end. The passing of the torch from the old generation to the new. Magic passed it to MJ, MJ passed it to Kobe and now Kobe will have to pass it to LeBron by season's end. That's how it has always been and that is how it will always be. But that is just my prediction. LeBron James has not giving us any reason to trust him in the post season, so lets just see how this plays out.