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Bryant vs LeBron rivalry is pushing both to higher limits. Tennis parallel?

Posted by tennisplanet on February 11, 2008

Kobe Bryant, pictured on February 5, scored 33 points and Spain's Pau Gasol added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 104-94 NBA victory over Miami, spoiling the debut of Shawn Marion for the Heat.  

Bryant is 29, while LeBron is 23: Six year gap.

If you watched the last All-Star game, you must have noticed the tension. Both wanted to outdo the other on that big stage. Both are fierce competitors. LeBron’s competitive spirit may not be as chronicled as Bryant’s, but that’s only because he has not been around that long. Bryant won that duel by winning the All-Star MVP award.

CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 5:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates during the game against the Boston Celtics on February 5, 2008 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) 

Now LeBron is out to dethrone Bryant as the league’s leading scorer. He is leading by over two points on average.

This all started when Nike offered the then green LeBron twice as big a contract as Bryant’s. Bryant of course was still recovering from his legal battle then. But that’s when it was like ‘bring it on’ from both sides.

Bryant has unanimously been declared the league’s MVP at this season’s midpoint, which should quieten most players. But Bryant is not going to give anything to LeBron, and will surely make a run for the top scorer’s post to deny LeBron any face saving veil.

Bryant’s recent outburst to get traded also was rooted in LeBron making the finals last year. LeBron is bigger, younger and stronger, but Bryant has more skills and better basketball IQ. He has more weapons overall.

But because of this equation, both have raised their game to another level – something that surely wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Beneficiary: Fans and basketball.

While LeBron will eventually take over sooner or later, Bryant will do his best to let him starve as much as he can. Now that Bryant has the right pieces around him, he might hit LeBron with a hammer soon by winning the championship, maybe more than once, before he rides in the sunset.

So far it has been civil, but if it gets close, it is bound to spill over, given how they are individually.

It has many comparisons to Federer-Djokovic rivalry, least of which is renewed interest in their respective sport. It is always fascinating to see how the older player improvises to compensate for his declining physical abilities, and still stay ahead of the curve. That’s a pure spectacle and real gravy for fans.

If you are heading to the greatest ever mansion, you have to cross this road, and it requires more than just movement and skill on the court. More grey matter starts to replace the brawn power to keep the engine moving and achieving.

Glorious feast for fans coming up.

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4 Responses to “Bryant vs LeBron rivalry is pushing both to higher limits. Tennis parallel?”

  1. Sarah said

    Great comparison, TP! But until LeBron wins a few major champions; he will be second to Bryant. Just getting to the finals isn’t enough. There are some that believe Bryant couldn’t have won those championships with Shaq – I believe they won them together. And at the end of the day – Bryant has the rings and LeBron doesn’t.

    Nokak has a bigger hill to climb. Twelve and counting!

  2. Sarah said

    Great comparison, TP! But until LeBron wins a few major champions; he will be second to Bryant. Just getting to the finals isn’t enough. There are some that believe Bryant couldn’t have won those championships with Shaq – I believe they won them together. And at the end of the day – Bryant has the rings and LeBron doesn’t.

    Novak has a bigger hill to climb. Twelve and counting!

  3. Sarah said

    So sorry about the posting twice…

  4. ricke said

    Maybe it’s the picture, but what is with Kobe’s wife’s dress on the right side? She seems to be unnaturally high over there.

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