LeBron James has achieved so much in his career that he is seen by many as the greatest of all time, or at least the only player worthy of being mentioned in the GOAT conversation next to Michael Jordan. Bridging the gap between Jordan and LeBron though was Kobe Bryant, who often gets left out of comparisons and GOAT conversations. Should his name be mentioned more though? Can he compare to LeBron or is The King too far past The Black Mamba in historical rankings already? Here's the in-depth breakdown of who really is the better player and who has left the greater legacy.
Loyalty and Importance to City
Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he finished his career with one of his best and most iconic performances ever - a 60-point outburst to lead a comeback win over the Utah Jazz in front of an overcrowded, star-studded Staples Center. Nobody in the history of the NBA has had such a big show for their farewell game, and it's largely due to Kobe's relationship with the city of LA. As a true superstar who never played a single game for another team and delivered five championships, his legend is elevated even higher than a player who has bounced through a few different teams. The people of LA love Kobe like fans could only love a player who never wore another uniform.
LeBron James has played now for three different teams, and split his time in his home town between two different stints. While LeBron hasn't played all of his basketball in Cleveland, his relationship with his home state of Ohio is incredibly strong, as evidenced by the raw emotion when he finally delivered on his promise of delivering Cleveland a championship. The charity work - most notably his I Promise School in Akron - which LeBron has contributed to the city of Cleveland has made him as beloved in Cleveland as Kobe was in LA. LeBron, from Akron, Ohio, has the advantage over Kobe in this argument of being a local product, but Kobe gets the still points over LeBron in this argument. A lot of Cleveland fans were upset, mad, spiteful, and showed pure hatred towards LeBron when he left for Miami. All was forgiven when he returned four years later, but nothing was forgotten. Advantage Kobe.