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Caught in the Web: Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James and other Lakers links

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With the Lakers and Cavaliers meeting Thursday for the second time this season, let the LeBron James-Kobe Bryant debate continue (with possibly new puppet commercials). 

ESPN's Bill Simmons has already taken that step, with the Sports Guy vividly describing in 3,006 words his utmost admiration for James' theatrics. Simmons paints James' warm-ups before the Clippers game on Saturday -- essentially his own dunk contest with between-the-leg slams and alley-oop lobs -- as a glimpse the excitement LeBron would provide if he became a Clipper.

I was at the game too. When I sat in my seat 30 minutes before tipoff, the Staples Center crowd was so captivated by LBJ's dunks that it nearly drowned out Clipper Darrell's chants nearby. To clarify, though, I was there as a basketball fan, not as an LBJ fan. 

Nonetheless, Simmons uses that anecdote to argue that LeBron as a Clipper would take L.A.'s love from Mamba because of his winning personality and flair to always perform. 

"Know this: The Kobe-LeBron argument is dead. It's over," Simmons writes. "LeBron James is the best basketball player alive." 

While I appreciate what both Kobe and LeBron bring to the game, I agree with the Orange County Register's Janis Carr that this debate shouldn't hinge on personality traits, but accomplishments. Carr took issue with Simmons' analysis, and shares an argument that Lakers fans will surely appreciate: "Bryant might not be the lovable, warm and fuzzy type the writer is seeking, but until James wins a title, the argument stands."

More Lakers links (after the jump)

-- Veer any anger you have toward Simmons (or me for posting his LBJ story) into love for comedian George Lopez. He settles the LeBron-Kobe debate to ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi: "LeBron James is great, but Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player ever. Kobe is a four-time NBA champion, an MVP, 11-time All-Star. His credentials don't lie." Mamba said Saturday at an event to promote his new shoe, the Nike Zoom Kobe V, that his basketball credentials are partly attributed to his playing soccer and using mixed martial arts.

-- Although the LBJ-Kobe debate forever lingers, this item is not debatable: jersey sales. The NBA says Mamba's No. 24 is the league's top-selling jersey since the start of the season, and LBJ is in second place. Lakers forward Pau Gasol isn't too far behind, with El Spaniard ranked No. 10.

A podcast with ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamanetzky and Lakers legend Jerry West is a must listen. Read into this what you will, but I found West's comments on Bryant to be interesting: "It's fun for me to watch him play, and know I was a small part of his life. He and I, we don't interact anymore but I do, from a distance, I admire him greatly."

-- With the Lakers (32-9) completing half of the NBA's 82 regular-season game schedule, the Daily News' Elliott Teaford hands out his midseason report card. Aside from that fact that it's unlikely the Lakers will break the Chicago Bulls' 72-10 regular-season record, the Lakers should be proud of displaying these grades on the refrigerator.

-- Fox Sports' Randy Hill wonders aloud whether there are any Western Conference foes who can contend with the Lakers (short answer: no).

--It appears Shaquille O'Neal isn't a fan of this year's slam dunk contest nominees, including Lakers guard Shannon Brown. Shaq tells the Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst that he will persuade LeBron to participate in the dunk contest only if "Vince Carter comes back out, if Kobe [Bryant] comes back out and if another big name comes back out. And if we can get a big prize and half of the money to go to the people of Haiti and the other half to the winner."

-- With the Feb. 18 trading deadline approaching, Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus lays out his proposals for how the Lakers can trim down their payroll.

Tweet of the Day: "Can Team E! get any contested rebounds? The #Lakers can't right now!" -- LAMase (710 ESPN's Steve Mason during the Magic's 20-2 run in an eventual loss to the Lakers)

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Kobe Bryant, left, guards Cleveland's LeBron James during the Cavaliers' 102-87 rout of the Lakers on Christmas. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

 
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People say Kobe is not as good as Jordan because he only has 4 rings... yet they will vault LeBron past Kobe with 0??? That's nuts!

*winning attitude*?
LOL.
The arrogant attitude, yes. The winning attitude... never saw that.

I suppose the same winning attitude that makes LeBronze's skipping thedunk contest for fears to be overshadowed... the winning attitude that makes his PR shut down YouTube videos with people ridiculizing his selfreferential ego... the winnin attitude that landed USA team a bronze medal at the Olymipcs or the winning attitude that saw him disappear from last year's SemiFinals and not even greet the players beating him?
I guesss LeBronze's pr next move to make not so bright people buy his "greatness" will be change the definition of winning attitude in the Thesaurus.
Shifting it from "behaviour defining a mental state that tends and LEADS to effective victories" to "behaviour defining a mental state that WISHES victories, never achieves them and then brainwash people around to make you believe that victory actually happened."
EWWW.

Bill SWimmons is on some sort of HUGE mind-altering stuff.

LOL.

I am way more interested in the Jerry West's comment about Kobe.
Now THAT Kobe has is winning attitude. And accomplishment. Jerry West knows. BIll SWimmons... oh, man. Really. Not so much.
But that he's onto I bet was enough to make him believe he saw the Saviour on his way to Damasco.

Lol.

Found an article on LakersNation.com about Kobe and LeBron and whether the Lakers should consider LeBron over Kobe next summer - http://www.lakersnation.com/goodbye-kobe-hello-lebron/2010/01/20/

Why anyone would want to play for Donald Sterling I don't know, but LBJ to the Clippers would be pretty interesting.

Simmons has got to realize that the people at that game were clippers fans. I can definitely see Lebron galvanizing the clipper faithful (is that an oxymoron) into a rabid gaggle but I don't see him swaying the majority of LA which is comprised of Lakers fans. We have too much history, sweat and tears invested into the Lakers. Lebron may attract the bandwagon Lakers fans but unfortunately for him and for Simmons' argument, Lakers fans, for the most part, are die hard and aren't going to switch allegiances for anyone. Simmons' gets off on messing with the Lakers faithful anyway so anything he says about the Lakers or a particular Laker (especially Kobe) must be taken with several tons of salt.

Personality traits? Give me a break, Lebron is a giant cup of douche. Need proof? Link below....

http://blog.bokeen.com/1158

Don't you think we have to move on from this hooplah of who is better between Kobe or Lebron? If puppets could motivate us to hold an arguments then our reasoning power on is on the level of "puppetry" too. Currently, we are not comparing two healthy players. Kobe can play b'ball w/ handicap on his injured fingers so his effectiveness is more relegated to assists and a decoy for our bigs. Another far fetched subject matter is who is better between Kobe and MJ? they belonged to two eras, one is still playing the other one is retired. Can you not wait for the right time to compare them?

If Lakers win in Cleveland and on the road that is enough! It is team effort whether Drew will be offensive or a little defensive, whether Shannon will outshine Farmar and Fish or just right.....the most important is a Win, Win Win. Lakers are judged by number of Championship nnot on individual categories. If you are a Laker, you should have a winning attitude, not a loser! If we keep on winning, do we still insist in changing the people that made us win? Why not trade those people who are not helping us? If we lose50% of these road games, then let's discuss changes in personnel.

@lakersinsight, wow if that's true he is a D Bag. Hard to know how much credibility to give it though.

For our expiring contracts on Ammo plus another player, I think this is a good move in acquiring a good shooter and defensive player like Nacioni. He's available for trade read this link.

http://www.sacbee.com/sports/story/2474376.html

They are looking for expiring contracts but not coming from the Lakers, Maloof Bros would be scared of the feeding the Lakers. Well, Lakers are also feeding them with an expiring contract.


The LBJ to the Clipper's concept came up in October and it makes some sense.

Lebron needs a major market and has to choose championship potential. The Clips have 2 first round choices next year plus enough size and talent to take it about as far as Cleveland has already gone.

After that it's about Dunleavy? Sterling? and livin' in Kobe town. Not gonna happen.

So the Lakers win on monday was not as impressive as every one makes it out to be. Magic have been in an obvious slump, losing something like 8 out o their last 10. Besides, we all know the reserves play well at home. Farmars play of energy and hussle feeds off the home crowd. Shannon and Farmar have to learn how to take that same intensity and focus on the road. We know what the starters can do and I do see them turning the switch thursday night, now its all up to the reserves to follow suit.

No better way to put that to the test than by playing against the Cavs at the Q. I really wish Kobe would rest, but we need him the most on the road. The bench seems to disappear when not at the Staples Center and that needs to change if they want to continue to hoard the league's best record.

Andrew has been playing with the flu so I worry about his stamina as well, hopefully he gets better so we can use him. I was encouraged by his play against the Magic, he didn't play much but its ok. He needs to know that every positive thing he does out there on the court the team as a whole benefit from it. Overall the bench has been key to getting those tough wins so I look forward to everyone stepping up.

Some might say we've had it easy with a home heavy first half of the season, but I do like the attitude the guys have been playing with the last few games. I think they understand what it is they need to accomplish for that to happen and are taking the right steps to continue on their journey successfully.

I personally am weary about them having an 8-0 record coming out of this next trip, hugely because of the 2 sets of back-to-backs and the inconsistency of the bench on the road. I CAN see them getting that psychological win over the Celtics & the Cavs to send the message that they can't be beaten if the two had to tussle in a 7-game series tho!

Good luck on the road guys, I'll be cheering you on! ;)

GO LAKERS!

The fact that ESPN continues to employ Bill Simmons is reason enough for every Lakers fan to boycott the network and its sponsors. I would like to see Andy and Brian publicly disown Simmons on the Los Angeles site. Further, someone should investigate whether "Bill Simmons" is just a pseudonym for David Stern. The idea that Lebron is better than Kobe is simply specious and laughable.

M2, I know you think that all opinions should be welcome here. But seriously, including this clown undermines your credibility and that of the LAT.

As for Eric Pincus, he's grasping for straws. Unless the Lakers completely melt down on this road trip, the smart money would be for the team to keep the roster as-is. Byron Scott to push PJ aside? Please. Scott has demonstrated over and over that he's a failure as a coach. Kick sentimentality about Scott to the curb. This is all about winning. Period.

The Christmas Day massacre must be avenged. Go Lakers!

btw I really am disgusted by Shaq's arrogant claim that Lebron, Kobe and Vince need to sign up to the dunk contest and blah blah blah! That's a huge slap in the face to this years nominee's, not to mention Lebronze against an aging Vince and a Kobe with a broken finger!!!

Shaq needs to get his head out of his you know what and stop pretending like he's still cool when he obviously can't get a ring with out an already established super star beside him! Your dominant years where over when you left the Laker's, please retire already!!


ugh.

bill simmons is an idiot i almost puked when i read his article on espn, i mean cmon are u serious lbj better than kobe and kobe doesnt have appeal like mj and lbj i guess lbj has the best selling jersey too huh?.... wait a minute! lol


Everyone knows I'm a Laker fan..However, You cannot compare Lebron/Kobe with the circumstances of Kobe/Jordan.

Kobe's career is almost over..I know it's hard to believe.

Lebron is just starting...Anyone who believes Lebron will never get a ring is crazy. He will get at least one. Maybe even this year..I certainly hope it's L.A though!

I see Lebron improving in all areas and he will be the best very SOON! The only thing he is not consistent at is his jumpshot and post game..He works on those, and he is easily better then Kobe.


Guys a new post is up

MM

My family lives in Akron, trust me the stories about him are generally true. I respect his on the court accomplishments and his basketball skills are remarkable. Never seen another player like him but as a human being he is despicable.

I don't doubt Lebronze will get a ring, but I DO doubt that it will be to the expense of Kobe.

Lets not forget that without Kobe in the 2008 Olympics Lebron only amounted to bronze. I do believe he will take over the NBA , but only AFTER Kobe retires.

No debate. Lebronze still hasn't proven himself worthy of any title let alone being named the best player in the league right now.

Bill Simmons is a joke just like Snaq.

Ha!

There's an argument that some writers and talking heads tend to make about Lebron vs. Kobe - the notion that they'd all take Kobe in a single game, but think Lebron's the better player overall. What's that even mean? Isn't that the most blatant form of fence-sitting? Look at it this way - Kobe (and just about any other player out there) will say that they take each game, one at a time. So by that form of measurement, wouldn't Kobe be the player of choice in each individual game, one game at a time?

Anyway, doesn't really matter I guess. There will always be a Kobe vs. Lebron argument. Doesn't matter who wins the finals, who gets into the finals, who wins MVP or scoring title or any other stat out there. For my money, Kobe's the best, hands down. The dude does things that no human being should be able to do. Fearless, totally dedicated to the game, focused beyond belief.

cosign

Wow, this who is better is a truly tired. Before it was about winning. Now everyone and their moms got a man-crush on LeBron and his flair for entertainment and dunking yet he won't compete in the Dunk Contest cuz he is afraid he will get embarrassed....It's okay he is not winning any rings and its okay, cuz he's still the best and let's ignore all the insane things that Kobe has done and still does on the court..hands down, Kobe Bean Bryant is STILL the best basketball mind on the court and player in this game..I dont need anyone to piggyback on that, cuz its my personal feeling..

LA is about HOISTING Larry O'Brienss at the end of the season not winning flossing in front of crowds with antics and dancing and poses and this and that before and during games and pregame dunks but yet the dunk contest rolls around and his braggadocious sp? ass won't parttake! Lebron is a cornball!

Go Lakers..Btw, when did Shaq become the spokesperson for the NBA and dunk contests...Why doesn't he participant volunteering everyone else?

excuse my typos in my post, at work and trying to do this (blogging) on this sneak tip! :o)

LeBron is better than Kobe.

At hype.

That is all.

Lebron's stats across the board are better than kobe's. More points, rebounds and assists. He also has a better FG % and 3P fg%. Put lebron on the lakers and they would win 72 games, put kobe on the cavs and they would be lucky to win 50

To end the Kobe-Lebron debate, I’m going to break it down into two categories with the help of ESPN columnist Bill Simmons and his “Book of Basketball.”

First of all, when comparing two individual players, you can ask yourself two things. Who is the more valuable player and who is the better pure basketball player. By answering these questions, you’re covering the tangible and intangible aspects of a players and together, they decide who the better player is period.

As far as most valuable (and here is where Simmons’ theory comes in to play), take Lebron away from Cleveland and take Kobe away from the Lakers. Replace them each with a mediocre player of the same position (perhaps Manu Ginobili for Kobe and Richard Jefferson for Lebron)and how would the teams fair? Cleveland probably wouldn’t even smell the playoffs in a horrible Eastern Conference and the Lakers have enough of a buffer outside of Kobe to still make noise in the West.

The other solution as to finding out who the better pure basketball player is, is to simply put them in an empty gym together with a basketball and have them play 1 on 1. Lebron is bigger, faster, stronger, and still more athletic than Kobe as well as a pretty good defender now. Lebron would win 7 or 8 out of 10, and if you can’t honestly admit that then you have no hope as a fan of basketball.

P.S. I don't want to hear about this Kobe has four rings nonsense in a debate between Kobe and Lebron. If they were both in the league for the same amount of time then that would be a legitimate argument but they're not so shut up. It's like saying my grandfather is a better person than me because he has grey hairs. Don't worry gramps, the grey hairs will be growing soon for me and for Lebron...so to speak.

James is good,but I prefer Kobe,you can see now,it is the time of Kobe V


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