Perhaps the most popular basketball debate of the past decade has focused on who is the better player: LeBron James or Kobe Bryant?
Though James has better overall numbers and is a much more efficient player, Bryant has won three more championships than James and to some that’s basically all that matters.
Abe Schwadron of Antenna Magazine recently asked Shaquille O’Neal, who was the best player on three of Bryant’s championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s, about who he sides with in the Kobe-LeBron debate.
Kobe or LeBron?
“They’re different. LeBron is more of an all-around player — Hey this guy’s open, let me kick it to him. Kobe is more of, Oh, we’re down six? I’m going to shoot it three times and get us six points. But they’re both great players. It’s a matter of opinion. To me, Dr. J was the greatest player ever. But I ask other people, they say Jordan, some say Kobe, some people say LeBron. It’s always going to be a matter of opinion.”
Unfortunately for us, Shaq doesn’t give a definitive answer. But to be fair to Shaq, there would have been some possible downside if he had made a choice and that choice was LeBron. Some would use it as a proof that he still has beef with Kobe. So perhaps it’s in O’Neal’s best interest to compliment both and keep it moving.
James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists this past season with the Miami Heat. Bryant appeared in just six games before suffering a season-ending tibial plateau fracture.