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Kobe Bryant Believed It Would Be Disrespect to LeBron if He Didn’t Compete With Him at High Level

Kobe Bryant (R) and LeBron James (L)

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the two most dominant players of their respective eras. Kobe dominated the 2000’s by winning 5 championships. Whereas, LeBron has won 4 championships and continues to defy gravity in the present day at the age of 36.

While there did come a time where the two giants went head-to-head with each other, with LeBron’s Cavaliers and Heat teams going 16-6 against Kobe’s Lakers, all in the regular season. It was never really a rivalry. The biggest of rivalries are born in the finals, when championships are hanging in the balance.

The NBA’s two greatest forces since Jordan weren’t exactly rivals or best friends, but they eventually forged a brotherhood. In 2009, Kobe and LeBron sat down for an interview to discuss what they admire about each other, both on and off the court.

Kobe praises Bron for taking off with one leg like ‘off a trampoline’, and that he’s ‘never seen anything like it’. James, in turn, said he studies Kobe’s mid-range jump shot obsessively. James did his best to copy the Black Mamba. The footwork James displays from the post is more Kobe Bryant than anything else.

Who is better: Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?

Kobe Bryant (L) and LeBron James (R)

LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers has a moment on the sideline with former Laker Kobe Bryant in the second half during a game against Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.
Credits: Getty Images

While they did meet 22 times on the court, Kobe’s peak years were during James’s infancy in the league. Kobe, in turn, was past his prime when James won his maiden championships.

LeBron is often regarded as a team-player. His unselfish play and decision-making makes his teammates around him better. While Kobe was a more versatile and complete player, he preferred to do things on his own.

LeBron may be the better player overall, Kobe was better in pressure situations. While LeBron would dominate his opponents physically, Kobe dominated them mentally.

But before LeBron could even reach the level of Michael Jordan, the legend he longed to catch was Kobe.

James inherited the tradition of the dominant Lakers wing from Kobe. He’s doing his utmost to keep the flame alive today as well. For years, James fought for Bryant’s respect. Now, he’s determined to carry on his legacy.

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