Sports

LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: Which NBA Legend Will Go Down as the Most Legendary Laker?

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles as he is guarded by Kobe Bryant.
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles as he is guarded by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 109-102 Cavalier win at Staples Center on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Harry How/Getty Images

As NBA fans around the world lost their minds this weekend, a Los Angeles Lakers legend weighed in on the news of the day:

Also, Kobe Bryant had this to say:

Fair enough. But what do Bryant’s fans—a group that is, by everyone’s estimation, extremely rational about Kobe’s basketball ability and his place in the league’s pantheon of all-time greats—think of this transaction?

On the other hand:

Look, both sides make great arguments. I’m not here to say that anyone’s wrong. But perhaps if we examine this question scientifically, then we’ll save Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith and a whole lot of other fair-minded, soft-spoken people the trouble of engaging in this debate. Let’s do this.

Statistics. LeBron has averaged more points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals per game than Kobe. LeBron also has a better field goal percentage, a better 3-point shooting percentage, and has played more minutes per game. It’s close but I’m going to give this one to LeBron.

Most Valuable Player awards. LeBron is a four-time NBA MVP and a three-time NBA Finals MVP, while Kobe is a one-time NBA MVP and a two-time NBA Finals MVP. Another slight edge to LeBron.

Height and weight. Per Basketball Reference, LeBron is 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds while Kobe is 6-foot-6 and 212 pounds. Advantage LeBron.

Loyalty. LeBron played 11 seasons for the team that drafted him, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers—his home-state franchise—to their first and only NBA championship despite having to deal with an unhinged owner. Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, then got traded to the Lakers after threatening to play in Italy. Gotta go with LeBron here.

Rings. Kobe won five NBA titles plus one state championship with Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. LeBron has won three NBA titles and three Ohio state championships with St. Vincent-St. Mary. For now, they’re tied at six in this all-important category, but expect LeBron to inch ahead before his career is over.

That’s four categories for LeBron, zero for Kobe, and one—rings—that’s totally deadlocked. Based on these numbers, the choice is clear: To make this a fair fight, Kobe Bryant must come out of retirement and lead the Charlotte Hornets to a championship. Also, follow Cedric Ceballos on Twitter for more great movie reviews.