What better way to begin a semester’s column than to express thoughts on something dear to my heart-sports.
Let’s start with the notorious “Kobe Bryant versus LeBron James” debate.
Before I discuss the outcome of their most recent encounter Saturday night, let me provide a brief history lesson.
Bryant has five championship rings to James’ zero. Bryant, with seven Finals appearances to his name, is deemed one of the most effective postseason players in NBA history. James, with two finals under his belt, has become the poster boy for playoff choke-artists.
Oh, and Bryant never had to link up with two other superstars to find his way back to game seven either.
Bryant is better, period; those standards say it all.
Now don’t get me wrong, James is a monster athlete. As NBA Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen [should] have put it, James has the potential to become the best player ever to set foot on the court.
That is as far as it goes.
It was evident during Saturday’s matchup, as James paced the Miami Heat to a 98-87 victory over Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, posting 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the process.
This win marked the fifth consecutive time James defeated Bryant in a head-to-head matchup during the regular season. As impressive as that is, in context, it is as meaningless as Kim Kardashian’s recent marriage.
We are talking about leaders of two perennial, playoff teams. Who cares what happens during the regular season?
Those who frame their entire argument on that statistic alone are compensating for James’ failures during moments that count, while ignoring Bryant’s clutch-gene.
The two have yet to cross paths during the postseason. When die-hard James fans can rant about similar stats during the summer, I might consider hearing them out – but even that is uncertain.
I won’t go so far as to say Bryant’s legacy is untouchable. But between James’ regular disappearing acts and his call for help last year, he is clearly nowhere in reach. Give it up, fanatics.