People are ready to anoint LeBron James the best player in the NBA but the crown remains on the head of Kobe Bryant. His 2010 statistics are comparable to James’ so there’s an argument there. It’s becomes no contest when you look at their mentalities. Kobe approaches the basketball court like a battlefield. LeBron uses it as a dance floor.
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Bryant recently gave kids and parents at his basketball camp some insight as to how he approaches the game and life. The campers were allowed to submit questions for Kobe to answer and one of the kids asked how the Black Mamba became Kobe’s nickname. Bryant’s answer reaches a place that LeBron James will never, ever reach.
“I won’t encourage you to be like me. I’m a thrill-seeker. So I love sharks. I love Black Mambas. I love King Cobras. I love stuff that can really kind of do you bodily harm.”
That’s a cold statement. LeBron isn’t wired that way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when vying for the title of “Best Player in the League” you need that Great White/Black Mamba/King Cobra mindset. James can continue to be the regular-season, statistical MVP candidate year in and year out. If he wants to be one of the league’s greatest players and competitors he needs to add some predator to his personality.