The Lakers are struggling. The Cavs are cruising. They are cruising even more so than they were last year when they finished with the best record. As of last year, there was a noticeable shift in the tide on the issue on who the best player in the game is. Again we have to differentiate "greatness" from "best" here. Put simply, greatness considers resume as a major factor. Best on the other hand simply takes into account effectiveness and skill in the game.
Up until 2007-2008, Bryant was the consensus best player in basketball. Probably until last season it was. But last season, it was not so much the landslide consensus it was as the previous years. Notably, Barkley shifted. Jeff van Gundy began to vacilate between the two. Same goes with David Friedman, etc... This year again the tide shifted even more and I am not so sure that Bryant still has the majority of the votes from nba fans and analysts - I wouldn't be surprised if he does not.
To be honest, I have shifted as well. When comparisons started in 2005-2006, I dismissed the comparisons as idiotic. I thought, it was not even close. Same thing during 2006-2007, 2007-2008. By 2008-2009, I still considered Bryant the best but I began to understand and accept the arguments of the other party. LeBron had eliminated a lot of his weaknesses, and the gap between the two was not miles wide as it was the previous years.
But this year, I boldly, and humbly proclaim... that LeBron James has surpassed Kobe Bryant as the best player in basketball. It hurts me. Some of you may consider it blasphemous. I expect harsh comments below. But that's my honest opinion. James effectivity and impact far surpasses Kobe Bryant at this point in their careers on both ends. Efficiency wise, by eliminating his 3pt and freethrow weakness, I'd take LeBron. They have the best record. Everything is going his way...
Errr... but I forgot to mention something. LeBron has surpassed Kobe on one condition. LeBron is the best player in the NBA, PROVIDED THAT Kobe Bryant is playing with 8 fingers. Again I repeat. LeBron is the best player in basketball. Provided that Kobe Bryant is playing with 8 fingers - 3 fingers on his shooting hand.
A lot of analysts, fans, have concluded that James is the best player in the game, and I know even for some of you it may be tempting to throw in the white flag and conclude the same thing --- while resting on the consoling fact that James may be the best today, but Bryant is no doubt the greatest today. But I stand here, and boldly state, that unless I see LeBron James outdo a healthy Bryant on a consistent basis, I maintain my stand. This year, Bryant showed what he is when he is healthy and well-rested: The alpha dog of basketball. He shot 49% from the field and led the league in FG's made per game, and points in the paint. He also led the league in steals for a couple or so weeks. It was only after the injury that he suddenly became pedestrian, by his and LeBron's standards...
I have not thrown in the white towel yet. I have seen and more importantly remember what a healthy Kobe Bryant is: a player who is still head and shoulder's above LeBron James, an alpha-dog with a mamba snake for a tail (sort of like a chimera). I maintain my stand. Unless I see LeBron surpass a healthy Kobe Bryant, then LeBron has surpassed Kobe only on the grounds that Kobe Bryant is injured.
This is my opinion. Please share yours. :)
PS This (bitter) post was meant for me to vent our my frustration to the God Almighty, who decided that it was unfair for the rest of the league to play against an unleashed Kobe Bryant, and thus decided to break his finger, give him back spasms, and sprain his ankle twice...
In your honest objective opinion, has LeBron James surpassed a healthy Kobe Bryant?
Yes (123 votes)
No (506 votes)
629 total votes