Kobe or LeBron? LeBron or Kobe? For years the debate around the league’s best player raged between the Mamba and the King. Even in Kobe’s retirement, the two have been fiercely pitted against one another in discussion for the greatest basketball player of all time – along with the legendary Michael Jordan.
However, since Kobe’s retirement, the Mamba has shown a different – more thoughtful – side and has publicly stated that rather than debate who was better, fans should simply enjoy what LeBron is currently doing in the NBA.
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LeBron James Wishes Lakers’ Legend Kobe Bryant a Happy Birthday
Despite their history of being pitted against one another in the media, it is clear the two men have immense respect for one another and what each has accomplished. James took time out of his busy offseason schedule to send out a happy birthday tweet to Kobe in which he hashtagged legend, icon, and GOAT.
Kobe has thrown some heavy praise James’ way as well, saying in 2017 that if he could play alongside any player in their prime, he would choose James:
“I think the player that would fit with me the most, I actually think would be LeBron,” Kobe told legendary UConn Women’s coach Geno Auriemma. “He’s a passer first, I’m a scorer, I’m a finisher. ‘Bron is a facilitator by nature and I’m a finisher by nature. Those two styles, I think complement each other extremely well.”
While the world unfortunately never got to see a prime Kobe and LeBron share the court during the NBA season, they were teammates on the star-studded 2008 gold medal USA Basketball team. James and Bryant teamed up with Dwyane Wade to lead arguably the most fearsome USA Basketball squad outside of the infamous 1992 Dream Team.
Lakers Resign Dwight Howard on Kobe Bryant’s Birthday
The Lakers decided to bring Dwight Howard back onboard on Kobe’s birthday no less. Bryant and Howard notoriously butted heads on the Lakers before nearly getting into a physical altercation in the season after their breakup. Kobe repeatedly tested Howard to “try him” before shaking his head in disappointment and calling Howard “soft”. The viral incident would go on to have a large part in shaping the narrative surrounding Howard and serves as one of the best pieces of evidence that showcase just how ugly things got between the two superstars during their time together.
While Howard isn’t expected to play the same superstar role – or even start – on these Lakers, his role off the bench is incredibly important to the championship hopes of the Lakers. With a clear dropoff in rim protection on the second unit, Howard will be mostly tasked with coming off the bench to block shots, rebound the basketball, and work the screen and roll game. A solid season of keeping his head down, playing his role, and helping the Lakers into the playoffs could go a long ways towards helping to ease the feelings of Laker fans – and maybe even Bryant – towards Howard.