Bryant vs LeBron rivalry is pushing both to higher limits. Tennis parallel?
Posted by tennisplanet on February 11, 2008
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.
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.