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Lebron James has is/been a better basketball player than Kobe Bryant.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,122 times Debate No: 43904
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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Lebron James is a better player than Kobe Bryant because, he is a better overall player than Kobe. The only stat were Kobe is better is ppg (points per game) but if you look at the stats Lebron's fg% (field goal percentage) is way higher than Kobe hinting that if Lebron wanted to score a lot he could if needed. Kobe Bryant's best season of field goal shooting is .469, Lebron only shot below one year and that was in his rookie campain. For his career he has averaged .495 Lebron James Kobe Bryant


I also believe that Lebron will become a better player than Kobe.
But is he a better player than Kobe now?

Sure you can argue his stats are similar if not better but there are certain intangibles that stats do not measure.

Even now, there is a stat revolution in keeping track of EVERYTHING the player affects while on the court, not just shooting %, rebounds, steals etc. But even with this advanced tracking ability, there will STILL be intangibles that are immeasurable. Traits that affect the team and the team's chance of winning.

For instance, killer instinct. For me, that is the ability to remain calm in intense pressure-laden situations and not let it affect their ability. Lebron has already shown that he can be weak eg. the finals against Dallas when he disappeared and his body language obviously showed his almost disinterest in the game. He argues that he made the "right" basketball move, passing off the last second shot to the open man. Sure, Chalmers or Bosh can shoot the three.

But here's the question. If your life was on the line and a player HAD to make a shot. Who would you rather have take the shot? Kobe or Lebron?
If a player had to make the "right" basketball move, sure, I'd go with Lebron. But based on history, if one of them had one shot with time ticking down, I'd assume that Lebron would be more likely to let the pressure get to him than Kobe would.
Debate Round No. 1


Good points by my opponents and I will adress each one of his main points

1. Killer instinct/Lebron performance in 2011 finals- He did have a bad series for Lebron which is an incredibly high standard but here are his stats in the 2011 finals 17.8ppg .478Fg% 7.2reb 6.8ast 1.7steal 0.5blk
Those are not bad stats all are higher than what kobe normally avg except ppg. The question is best player not who scores the most in one series. Even thought Lebron scoring was down and he looked nervous in the 2011 finals point is his still perfomed overall just not scoring.

2. If your life was on the line and a player HAD to make a shot. Who would you rather have take the shot? That answer would not be Kobe Bryant. Because he misses a higher percentage of his shots than Lebron.

For Kobe career he makes .454% vs Lebron .494% and .448% in the playoffs for Kobe vs .472% for Lebron, 3pt is .335% vs Lebrons .340% for the total careers. Regardless of the gut feeling you have and the way Lebron my have looked during one series the stats speaks volumes. Kobe Bryant misses to many of his shots.

Also Lebron James has 4 MVPs vs Kobes Bryants 1. The MVP is giving to the best player in the league/most valuable.

2nd in 2013 the Lakers had the reining defensive player of the year/Best center in the league, the second best center in the league in Pau Gasol and multiple all-star, 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash and barely made the playoffs. The Lakers were projected to be one of the best teams in the NBA. During the last weeks of the 2013 regular season the Lakers and the Jazz were tied for the final spot after Kobe Bryant got injured they secured the final spot, no thanks to Kobe Bryant. This points to the biggest problem Kobe has, he doesn't make players around him better.

Lebron James has better career stats per game than Kobe Bryant in every relevant category except free throw percentage. Lebron leads him in Scoring, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, assist, 3pt percentage, field goal percentage, steals and blocks. Kobe and Lebron are close in scoring but the fact Lebron makes more shot but shoots less and that kobe is mainly a one dimensional player the easy choice is Lebron James as the better player,


Kobe does not make the players around him better. That is true. He would not be a good fit for many teams.
But his skill level combined with another very good player usually a bigman like shaq or gasol, the team is nearly unstoppable.
He does NOT elevate the game of scrubs like luke walton and co. Lebron would make everyone else on his team better.
But is elevating your teammates game always what give the team the best chance of winning?

Kobe does miss more but that's because of his volume. Like you said, Lebron is a very efficient shooter. He picks his spots wisely and it's always on his mind to take good shots (also he has publicly said that he wants to be efficient and keep his shooting% high. it's like this private competition between him and durant). Kobe will take shots when he's triple guarded and 4ft out from the 3pt line...and STILL have a better chance of making it than 90% of the shots his teammates would take.

Lebron has the luxury of being able to pick his spots. His team does not need for him to score 25 every night. If his team needed him to do so, his shooting % would be much lower. The lakers needed Kobe to be Kobe.

Also, let's take 1v1. Who is the better player in a 1v1 situation? Who has more moves? Who is more likely to score? As Kobe got older, he needed to rely less on his athleticism and evolve his game to have more finesse moves.

I think this argument boils down to what you mean as "better basketball player." I take that to mean whoever gives his team the best chance of winning. Many times, for the lakers, their best chance was to have the ball in Kobes hands and score. Kobe can be one-dimensional but that's b/c he wants to win. He knows that him shooting the last shot tripled teamed will still have a higher chance than steve blake shooting a wide open jump shot. When the lakers needed him to distribute, he averaged almost 10 assists (short stretch when Nash was injured). He plays hard on defense and has confidence that Lebron still lacks. It makes Lebron a much better, likable person sure. But Kobe is the black mamba for a reason.
Debate Round No. 2


You made some interesting points in round 2 but you are giving reasons to why Kobe is inferior to Lebron
1. Kobe does not make players around him better
2. He would not be a good fit for many teams

Those reasons matter in being a good basketball player. We are not talking about who is a better 1 on 1 player , who has more confidence, we are talking about who is the better basketball player. And that is someone that gives your team the best chances of winning and has the individual game as well.

Now lets look at your two points you started round 2 with
1. Kobe does not make players around him better- From my understanding you win more games with better players and you just stated Kobe does not do this

2. He would not be a good fit for many team.- If he would not be a good fit for many teams its almost irrelevant how good of an individual player he is if he would make teams worst and he is very team specific. If Kobe is range of team he would be a good fit for is small and Lebrons is large , then this mean Kobe will have a smaller percentage change of making teams good while Lebron will have a higher percentage of making team better..Which helps Lebron cause for being a better player if he will be more effective for more teams

Hence to the Cavaliers who had the worst record in the NBA and after Lebron was drafted made it to the championship games within 4 years and had the best record in the nba twice, since Lebron left the Cavaleirs that have a total of 64 wins in 3 seasons!! Lebrons final two seasons the Cavaliers won 61 and 66 games.

3. Kobe misses more because he shots more, again that irrelevant because Lebron makes a higher percentage of his shots. Meaning if Kobe and Lebron shot the same amount of shots Kobe would still miss more shots

So in conclusion..
-Lebron has better stats in his career than Kobe in every category Points, rebounds, assist, steals, field goal percentage, Kobe has a better free throw percentage.
-Lebron makes his team better Kobe does not (my opponent even agreed)
-Lebron will be a good fit for many teams, Kobe will not (my opponent even agreed)
-Lebron 4 MVPs only Michael Jordan has more (5) who is considered the best player of all-time


This is a difficult argument as everything you are saying is true but you're missing the point.

Kobe's mentality is iron-clad. No one can touch him on this level. He would NEVER look nervous on the court. Lebron would and has shown he would (a point that you admitted earlier). Google "Kobe not scared of Matt Barnes." You will see the icewater in his veins. Lebron is just not there yet and until he gets there, all physical gifts aside, he can not be considered a better basketball player than Kobe.

1. Winning does not correlate with having teammates score better.
For example, let's say Kobe distributed more and allowed his teammates to take open shots. Everyone's field goal % goes up. But overall as a team, they score less and the opponent's score more. This is a very possible scenario and has happened many times for the Lakers. Many possible reasons but I'll posit just one.
What happens when a player focuses on scoring? Their defense typically will take a hit. It's inevitable. You spend that much energy on offense, you won't have as much gas for defense. This is just an example to show that just because your teammates score better, it does not automatically mean the team will win.

How do you win? By scoring more points than the other team. I'd say the ability to score is pretty important in a basketball game. Kobe's one dimensionality just happens to revolve around the thing that matters most in basketball wouldn't you say? Everything else, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, are all aimed with one focus: scoring more points than your opponent.

I brought up 1v1 game and confidence as those are part of being a basketball player are they not? They're intangibles that stats can't measure and they're relevant since you seem to rely solely on stats to prove your case.

2. What team they are good for is irrelevant. Teams need different roles at different times. If they needed a scorer, Kobe would be much better, a point that you agree with. If they already had 3 other superstars that could normally score at anytime ie. Wade, Allen, Bosh, then yes, Lebron would be a better fit.

When Lebron needed to be the dominant scorer, as he did with the Cavs, he was great but still unable to win a ring.
The fact that he led the Cavs to a league best record, twice, helps prove my own point. He was able to show the league that night after night he could carry the Cavs and the be best team in the NBA...until it counted most.

The one time he made it into the NBA finals, the Cavs were swept by the Spurs.
During the regular season, the Cavs beat the Spurs, EVERY TIME. But Lebron couldn't even win ONE game in the finals.

3. Basic statistics argues otherwise. I can shoot 3 times, make two of them and have a 66.6% field goal. Amazing no?
I doubt I'd still have 66.6% fg if I shot 30 times.

MVPs are given to the player who is Most Valuable to their TEAM. The Cavs, as they aptly demonstrated, needed everything and were a terrible team without Lebron. From rebounds, to assists, to scoring, to moms who would sleep with teammates. A player could average much better stats but if they aren't as valuable to the team due to say, a great backup or deep bench, they won't win the award.
Case in point, some people thought Peyton Manning should get the MVP in 2011 when the Colts went 2-14. He didn't play a single game but demonstrated his true value to the team (they were mainly the same as the year before when they made the playoffs, just without Manning).

Also, let's not forget that MVP is chosen by VOTES, a whole other issue of it's own. Which is the reason why Lebron didn't win one season even though he averaged very similar stats as he did when he won hands down. Remember? The season that literally everyone hated him. Just shows you how biased MVP voting is. I'll give you that Lebron technically should have 5 MVPs. I only concede that b/c they don't mean much. I mean, Derrick Rose? Really? Where is he now.

Kobe has this mentality that just can't be phased. Another example of his calm under pressure: Kobe had rape allegations against him in 2003. White woman vs. black guy. His coach had a daughter who had been raped. His wife publicly hated his guts. Awkward. It's safe to assume that someone under a ton of pressure and unable to handle it will make alot of mistakes ie. turnovers correct?

In 2003, his turnovers decreased from 288 in the season prior to 171. His scoring dipped as he was taking less shots but was he making mistakes? No. Pressure does not exist in his world.

Lebron needs to grow a bit more mentally before he's able to utilize all his natural gifts to the fullest. Lebron has physical gifts and a more generous nature that make him a better teammate and more well-rounded player. But until he's able to turn on this killer instinct, the sense to go for an opponent's jugular when the time is right, he will NOT be a better basketball player than Kobe.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Anakin 3 years ago
Why dont you think anyone will vote?
Posted by Whomp 3 years ago
No worries. I just realized after taking another look. hahaha well i dont think anyone's gonna vote on this but you made some great points. I agree with almost all of them. LBJ is going to be the greatest, possibly ever. The media finally stopped acting like jackasses and realized they'd look stupid if they kept hating on the arguably the greatest player of this generation. Just can't touch Kobe on that killer mindset...yet.
Posted by Anakin 3 years ago
I used Bleacher report just for factual stats alone, I could have got those stats from almost any source. I got tired of using the same source I did in the previous rounds so I decided to change
Posted by Whomp 3 years ago
BR is known to pander and argue for both points, trying to incite as many comments and views as possible. It's trash. You can't take anything said on there seriously.
You should see what was coming up during the JLin phase.
Literally every day, they'd have two articles on him. One why he's awesome. One why he sucked.
They all said pretty much the same thing.
Posted by Whomp 3 years ago
BR is known to pander and argue for both points, trying to incite as many comments and views as possible. It's trash. You can't take anything said on there seriously.
You should see what was coming up during the JLin phase.
Literally every day, they'd have two articles on him. One why he's awesome. One why he sucked.
They all said pretty much the same thing.
Posted by Whomp 3 years ago
Also, never reference bleacherreport if you want to be taken seriously by any sports fan.
BR and their sportswriters are not respected anywhere.
Posted by msheahan99 3 years ago
These stats are great, but in the upcoming rounds it would be cool if you go into more detailed stats, rebounds, assists, steals, PER. I'd debate but I agree with you.
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