Case Closed: LeBron James Not in Same Class as Kobe Bryant

Define Irony: Scottie Pippen hails LeBron James as the new Jordan when in reality he’s the modern Pippen.

What makes sports great is that the truth is revealed in real time before the eyes of millions. You can have all your muddled arguments for the best to ever play the game. So long as the name James doesn’t come up in the discussion I’m willing to listen.

Let’s get something straight. There will never be another MJ. It’s impossible to duplicate both his accomplishments and importance to the game of basketball. With that being said the man to come closest to climbing to the summit of Mt. Jordan is Kobe Bryant.

Self-proclaimed King James is somewhere near the base of that mountain looking up at the likes of Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing. He’s got the game but he doesn’t have the IT – that special something that separates the great talents from the all-time greats.

Kobe is a coldblooded killer unafraid of failure forever chasing the impossible. LeBron James is a beauty queen more consumed with appearance than accomplishment.

Make whatever argument you want but the facts speak for themselves. Your eyes did not deceive you. When the greatest pressure of all fell upon the shoulders of LeBron he crumbled. Then, in typical LeBron fashion, he lashed out at his haters.

Want to know the biggest difference between LeBron and Kobe? Bryant takes the hate to heart. He makes it personal. Kobe takes no pleasure in knowing his haters don’t live the same lifestyle he does as LeBron referred to in his infamous post-Finals presser. Bryant only takes pleasure in apologies – as in Magic Johnson publically apologizing for prematurely anointing James the new king.

Unlike LeBron, Kobe allows his game to do the talking. No need to pound your chest and proclaim your greatness when you’ve got an entire hoops world that will do that dirty work on your behalf once you build a hater-proof resume. When Shaq asked Kobe how his ass tasted, Bryant responded by getting one more ring than the Diesel. Kobe then took his shot at O’Neal as soon as he could – not a moment before. LeBron does things the opposite way. James is the king of premature adulation.

James calls his shot then scapegoats his poor performances via his apologists who always have creative excuses.

Guess what? The land of LeBron excuses is running out of real estate.

He didn’t have the supporting cast in Cleveland. He doesn’t have a bench in Miami. He was under more pressure than any other athlete.

Cry me a pool atop a South Beach hotel.

Here is something that you cannot excuse. The title was there for the taking. The NBA Finals were begging for LeBron to put his stamp of greatness on the game. Problem was when Queen James dug in his pocket he realized his stamp pad was all out of ink. Ink he wasted on tasteless free agency announcements. Ink he wasted on pointless WWE style introductions. Ink he wasted in celebrating a victory over an aging and injured Celtics squad.

This is professional hoops where championship opportunities are few and far between. Nothing is promised. Kobe knows this all too well. Bryant was determined to learn this lesson the hard way by trying to go at it all by himself. Lesson learned.

It’s not that Bryant is above making some of the same mistakes LeBron continues to make. It’s that Bryant learns from those miscues and moves on by constantly tweaking his game and obsessively mastering his craft.

As for LeBron, he’s all too happy to get by on his talents alone. The true measure of a great player is how their game develops once their physical skills diminish. Jordan’s prime didn’t come until he was no longer able to simply jump over his competition. He had to outthink his opponents.

Where does that leave LeBron if he can’t find the courage to attack the hoop in crunch time when he’s the biggest, strongest and fastest man in the game? Just how is King James going to win all those rings he promised when he’s no longer able to blow by defenders with ease?

If this is LeBron’s prime then I’m afraid we’ve seen all that is needed to determine his place in history.

He’s Robin with delusions of being Batman. However LeBron’s delusion is the worst kind of all.

There are plenty of guys out there that would have gone down in a John Starks-like blaze of glory. Gunning as if they were the best to ever play the game. Unafraid of taking big shots even if they were never meant to do so. Guys like Sam Cassel and Robert Horry who never knew they weren’t supposed to be stealing the show from their more marketable counterparts. You know, like when a skinny rookie fresh out of high school was shooting air balls for the Lakers in the playoffs. Obviously those shots didn’t fall but it certainly alerted the world to what kind of stones the youngster had.

James in not this type at all.

James wants rings but is unwilling to grab the moment by the horns. He wants to be a global icon but can’t be bothered by taking part in a dunk competition. Quite frankly, LeBron wants to get into heaven but is afraid of death.

LeBron lives in a world dominated by fear. He’s afraid of the spotlight even though his inner Favre craves it. He’s scared of public humiliation even though he’s constantly putting himself out there.

Simply put, he’s not in the same class as Kobe Bryant and he never will be because Kobe lives for the pressure moments. If it were up to him Bryant would play Game 7’s all year long.

Let’s just put this to bed now.

Like those that are constantly apologizing for him, LeBron is guilty of not knowing his place. When Muhammad Ali ran his mouth he was hated. When he backed up his smack by delivering results he was loved. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than decisions made in primetime. James somehow thinks his place in history is guaranteed. Problem is he doesn’t realize it could be a spot in the Hall of Infamy that is currently on hold for him.

From here out, let’s keep LeBron out of the Kobe and MJ conversation. He’s in no position to be in the greatest to ever play discussion. Instead, let’s just focus on what his resume dictates. That LeBron could go down as the greatest to never win a ring.

Tags: Charles Barkley John Starks Karl Malone Kobe Bryant Lebron James Magic Johnson Michael Jordan Muhammad Ali Patrick Ewing Robert Horry Sam Cassel Scottie Pippen Shaquille O'neal

  • Mudygreezy

    Well written.

  • jak

    Great point, “kobe would play game 7s all day long”.
    Kobe loves the pressure and the the chance to prove hes the greatest in the most challenging way possible,why? bc he
    loves the game and understands it to the fullest, basicaly a purist, while lebron hates the pressure and just wants to
    be the chosen one and a billionaire and the game is a way to get there so when it gets too hard and the pressure is at it its highest he gives up bc deep down its not worth it for him to try this hard for something like winning a championship, he just wants to win easy hence joining with wade and bosh to win not for being a champion but to validate that he is not only a champion but the chosen one, sub-human while kobe just wants to be the greatest bball player ever without all the other material stuff that comes with it, and that is the true difference..

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  • john peterson

    there’s an article in espn where Steve Kerr says that LBJ
    at most is like scottie pippen. he needs to win some rings
    before he can be compared to pippen. he defends like pippen
    he prefers to pass to wade like pippen to jordan. i agree.
    LBJ is no Kobe. Kobe is the best thing since jordan

  • CT_23

    Good point, at least LeBron is not a rapist like Kobe, and also only reason why Kobe shine is because of Shaquille, LBJ will have more rings than Kobe before he retires period, haters…

    • J.

      First of all, we’re talking about basketball, not their personal lives. Even if Kobe got arrested for decapitating an elk and forcing its head into your mom’s throat, his ppg for the 10-11 season would still be 25.3 and have six more rings than Lebron. Secondly, Kobe won three championships with Shaq AND three without him. And for the record, Shaq even called Kobe the greatest player in the NBA, even putting his own teammate Wade (not Lebron) just below him. And last but not least, for Lebron James to have more rings than Kobe like you predict, then he’ll have to win a championship once every two years for the next twelve years, assuming he’ll retire at 40. GG.

    • Chris Shellcroft

      Typical response from a LeBron apologist.

      1) Start a discussion that has nothing to do with the game.
      2) Go to the land of make believe where LeBron has 20 rings, cured cancer and started a pro league on Mars.


      Honest talk, I’m not a LeBron hater. I love the game and enjoy watching skilled players do their thing. If James was a Laker I’d have the same take on him. you can’t act like you’ve accomplished before you’ve even gotten to the top of the mountain. Then once you get there you can’t act like the last five feet of climbing will be the easiest.

      There is no way a dude with that much game should ever disappear in any game let alone in the Finals.

      Make whatever excuse you want. What we saw is not the stuff legends are made of. He’s an All-Star right about now and that is all.

      Oh and…Kobe won with and without Shaq. But for those of us that know the game we understand no player will ever win all alone. Isn’t that way the Shook One took his talents to South Beach in the first place?

  • Professional Athletes David

    This article is definitely well written as Mudygreezy have said. There can only be one MJ and that is not Lebron period. Kobe and Lebron are both great players but of different wavelengths.

  • ShaneFM

    Finally a well written article about this Lebron comparison to 2 of the greatest shooting guards to have ever played the game. I do, however, want to point out that I am not part of the brainwashed logic that MJ was the best and NO ONE will EVER beat him. That is plain ridiculous and makes no sense. If no one will ever be better than one player than why watch? To say no one will ever compare to this one era or this one team or this one player is to say the game will never achieve greatness. In the end it’s absurd to assume such thinking. MJ- by the numbers is not the best. Wilt Chamberlain for one was thee most dominant player EVER! Oscar Robertson was the best all around and I could go on. What people need to include into their articles is to understand it’s not a sin to tell the truth about MJ. MJ was GREAT! No doubt! No one player will ever…eEEEVERRR…affect the game like he did. But this was more so about being the right player at the right time for Nike.
    Sorry for the rant! I will close this out by saying MJ was the Greatest player after Larry Bird, Kareem & Magic Johnson just as they were only great after Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain & Oscar Robertson. Each Era has their greats. And the real question is who will take over now that Shaq has left and when Kobe will eventually hang it up? Wade or Lebron? That’s the question!

    • Chris Shellcroft


      I’m not saying Jordan is the best player ever. To me Kobe is better because he has dominated in an era where there is more talent in the league. My point is just as you stated that Jordan was around at the right time. His mark left on the game cannot be matched simply because there will never be another era like the one he played in. The league was much different and Jordan’s talent combined with his marketability created the perfect storm.

      I honestly don’t believe anyone will ever win 6 MVPs and 6 titles in a decade again. To me those are feats that will never be touched. The MVP voting is way too political these days (Shaq and Kobe 1 MVP each while LeBron and Nash have 2, please explain that) plus teams are far to aggressive in building champions for one team to rule an entire decade like those Bulls did.

      • ShaneFM

        Thanks for understanding

  • 723

    that article was on the money……

  • JiaoTakamkemari

    MJ is the greatest player of his time.
    Kobe is the greatest player of his time.
    Lebron, still have a lot of time to become a man.

  • chavz


  • kevin

    i think lebron is done now,please let KOBE reign,his new target is to win his 6 th ring,then we will no longer talk about MJ