By: Patrick Harrel
After Kobe Bryant won his fifth NBA Finals with the Lakers and LeBron James left the Cavaliers in the cold with a high payroll and little talent, the Black Mamba certainly gained some credibility in the “league’s best player” debate.
Mentioning James’ name in the same sentence as Bryant became taboo in some circles.
But is all this hate really justified for LeBron? Is Kobe really the better player?
The answer right now has to be no. While Kobe may have the rings and the pedigree, LeBron James is the single best basketball player on the planet and was completely worthy of his MVP trophy this past year.
It is obvious that statistics do not tell the whole story, that the simple box score cannot possibly quantify a player’s contributions completely to a team, but they are not without use. And statistically, LeBron James is without comparison.
Despite taking more than a shot fewer last year, James poured in nearly 30 points compared to Kobe’s 27 and almost two rebounds more per game, illustrating James’ ability to score efficiently and work hard on the glass.
However, the most telling difference in their statistics was James averaging more than three and a half more assists than Bryant despite the fact that Bryant was dishing the ball out to studs like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom instead of Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison.
This impressive passing ability is what makes LeBron’s offensive impact so much greater than Bryant’s.