Now that LeBron James is again at home watching watching the rest of the NBA playoffs, the much hoped-for NBA Finals match-up of LeBron James versus Kobe Bryant will have to wait at least one more year. Yet, among fans, the debate over which of these two stars can claim the title of the game's current greatest player never ends.
Kobe fans immediately point to his championship jewelry and Lebron's ring-less hand. But Lebron lovers remind them who the league MVP is, for the second year in a row. Opinions won't get us anywhere in the argument, so let's look at some raw numbers.
Because Kobe is about six years older and has played seven more NBA seasons, comparing career averages can be a little misleading. Some may argue that Kobe has had the benefit of a greater mix of teammates (including superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol), while others would say he has sustained a high-level performance over a longer career.
So, let's look at this from two vantage points. We'll consider each player's current career averages, through the end of the 2010 regular season. Then, to account for the differences in their ages and experience, we'll go back in time to see what Kobe's stats were after his first seven seasons.
So, based on these statistics, James has the better numbers overall. But what about the fact that Kobe has won four championships and James has won none? That may be the one statistic that will continue to haunt King James and keep Kobe in the conversation. And it could be one of the deciding factors for LeBron in choosing which team to play with next season.
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