May 13, 2010

LeBron v. Kobe

I am a Lakers fan. I get a lot of heat from people when I tell them this, because I did not grow up on the West Coast and there is no earthly reason why I would have gravitated towards that team when I first started getting into basketball, as far as anyone can tell. So I will explain in two simple words: Color Scheme. I picked the Lakers as my team back when I knew nothing about basketball because I liked the purple/yellow combination. By the way, this is also how I chose me favorite football team, the Raiders- I liked their logo and the colors were cool and easy to rep.

Having admitted that my love for this team did not begin with actual athletic prowess or being a fan of a player or anything remotely involving the actual sport itself, I can also now tell you that as a fan I have learned to love the game. I have spent the last few seasons avidly watching the Finals- and I am decent at predicting the outcomes as well. If you doubt me, I was watching the Finals last year and predicted that Derek Fisher would tie the game with a 3 point shot and bring it into overtime so the Lakers could win against Orlando. I can provide an eyewitness who heard me say it, laughed that it wasn't going to happen- and watched as Fisher did just that, with seconds to spare. I can explain my Fisher theory in another post- this is really about the whole Kobe v. LeBron thing anyway. And for you naysayers- I am not a BRYANT fan, I am a LAKER fan- there is a difference. Observe.
I read this article and felt I had to share, since it pretty much mirrors the way I feel about this trumped up rivalry between these two players- LeBron vs. Kobe
There is also a slideshow comparison of how the two measure up against each other.

Don't get me wrong- LeBron is an extremely talented player, with amazing skills and ability. BUT, and I have said this many times, he is still a PUPPY. He has to grow into his talent, the way a puppy grows into it's giant paws. As time progresses, he will finesse his skills and very well could be the next great basketball player. But as of today, he is just not better than Kobe Bryant. What Kobe Bryant has accomplished is amazing, and everyone knows he can single handedly carry his team to a win just by exerting himself and getting points, even if everyone else is slacking. It is the same for LeBron, except that he is EXPECTED to carry his team in every game, because he has no support staff to help him (ok, after this post I will write up my Derek Fisher post because it is necessary to understand why the Lakers are as good as they are).

I find it ironic that Shaq was on the Lakers when Kobe came into his own, and now Shaq is on the Cavs where LeBron is poised to be the next big thing. It will be very interesting to see how LeBron develops as a player - if he can survive the pressure of carrying a team. Right now, he is the sole redeeming factor for the Cavs (and after his most recent game, it is apparent he is feeling the heat). There is speculation that he will end up playing for New York or Brooklyn, but neither of those teams is any better than the Cavs, so he will still be the sole bread winner. I am not dumping on Shaq by the way, but let's face it, he has been a bit distracted since leaving the Lakers, what with his divorce, scandals and TV shows...And just like Kobe carried him towards some of his Finals, he is leaning on LeBron now to carry him to another. Talk about pressure!

It came as no surprise that the Celtics creamed the Cavs. When you have Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen playing against LeBron James, I don't care how much talent each one has individually, LeBron is not going to beat the three of them. Even the Lakers lost to them two seasons ago in the Finals! It is just unrealistic. I still bear great resentment towards the Celtics- especially Paul Pierce (he plays scrappy, like he is still playing on a park court with street rules).

Of course I want there to be a showdown between greats- but LeBron is too green to step up to the challenge. Ask me in a few years, if Kobe manages to remain relatively uninjured. If it ever does come down to a showdown between the two, I definitely want to be sitting front and center- it will be one for the books! For now, I will continue to rock the purple and yellow and happily wear my yellow baseball hat with the purple 'X'...much love to Phil Jackson for making my team great!

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