The interwebs stood at attention Monday night after LeBron James dropped what looked suspiciously like a subtweet. The natural assumption was that King James was tweaking Kyrie Irving.
In quoting the hook from Drake’s song Portland, perhaps King James was just offering Irving some advice before they break up: Don’t let the betas feed off your alpha-ness. On the other hand, perhaps LeBron was saying he’s done with letting betas like Irving get the credit for helping him win rings.
It’s the same rings argument Jordan used back in 2013 when he said five beats one every time I look at it. (Jordan changed his tune later that year, saying James had passed Bryant after the Black Mamba was forced to recover from a brutal Achilles injury.) You can’t simply take out championships from a basketball discussion, but by most objective measures, James has firmly passed Bryant.
James also eclipses Bryant as a 3-point shooter in the regular season (34.2 percent vs. 32.9 percent) and owns a nearly identical percentage in the playoffs (33.0 vs. 33.1). Bryant has James beat on championships, scoring titles and All-Star, All-Defensive and All-NBA appearances, but James owns three more MVP awards and one more NBA Finals MVP award. It’s not all that crazy to think James will add to his resume and pass Bryant in some of those other categories, too.
But really, this isn’t an argument about LeBron vs. Kobe. By that logic, Robert Horry is actually better than Jordan, Bryant and James, right? No, this is about James vs. Jordan.
You could bring out the same numbers to easily prove Jordan stands tall over Bryant. It’s an apples to apples comparison. Jordan is a better, more efficient version of Bryant. That’s not said to detract from Bryant’s incredible accomplishments, but it’s true. There have been entire video compilations showing how Bryant took Jordan’s moves and used them to climb up the all-time scoring list.