LeBron James is the Best Player in the NBA

I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles and I have been a Laker fan all my life but Kobe Bryant is not the best player on the planet.

However, before we discuss who is the best player in the NBA, we should answer the question of what a best player would look like.

The best player in any sport has three essential qualities:

First, he shows up to play every night. All players have off nights, but the best player will have the fewest. His game is wholy reliable from start to finish in every game.

Second, the best player in the NBA repeatedly does well in relevant statistical categories. He does not just shoot a lot. He carries out his assignment in every category. If he is a center or forward then the best player will score and rebound well. If he is a point guard he will have a bucket load of assists. No matter what position he plays, he will be a consistent defender.

Third, the best player is undeniably the emotional force behind the team. He is the on court team leader. When the team is lagging or out of sync, the best player gives his team a pick me up.

This year the one player who portrays these qualities in the most impressive fashion is LeBron James. He is dynamic. He scores, rebounds, has a good share of assists, and plays quality defense. And, he is undeniably the leader on the Cavs floor.

2010 Update

LeBron wins a second NBA MVP award signifying him as the best individual player in the league.

Not the Best Player if Cavs Don't Make the 2010 NBA Finals

The Cavs have gone out of the way to give LeBron a good enough supporting cast to get his team to the NBA Finals. With the aquisition of Antwan Jamison, the Cavs ended the season with the NBA's best record. Sure they played most of their games against a weak Eastern Conference, but still LeBron had to get this team to the 2010 NBA Finals to be considered the best player in the league or the best player label has to go back to Kobe Bryant.

Cavs Eliminated in 2010 NBA Playoff Quarterfinals

Can LeBron be the best player in the NBA if he cannot motivate his teammates to win the big show? Certainly he had an impressive triple double in Game 6 against the Celtics (27 pts., 19 Rebounds, 10 Assists), but eliminated in the quarterfinals? You have to make a stronger showing in the playoffs to be labeled the NBA's best overall player.

King James Bows to Peer Pressure

LeBron James chose to bow to peer pressure and move his game from Cleveland to Miami. Ultimately, LeBron moved to the Heat for the opportunity to win championships. Of course, championships are more important and memorable than individual stats for fewer people remember George "Iceman" Gervin or Charlie Scott who led the league in scoring but never won championships than Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, or Michael Jordan who won championships before scoring titles (Jordan did both). However, by this move LeBron shows that he is not the leader in the clubhouse or on the floor. For LeBron moved to join Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade rather than the other way around. If LeBron was willing to take a pay cut to play with those two in Miami and those two were willing to take pay cuts to play with LeBron, then they could have done so in Cleveland as well. But, Bosh said no to Cleveland and James had to comply or be left up in the cold. Some believe this move diminishes King James' brand; however, it only does so if the move does not result in championships. Still, James' decision to go along on someone elses ride takes away from his claim as the best player on the planet because the best player on the planet should show leadership skills which LeBron has yet to show.

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Comments 35 comments

bogartkick 7 years ago

Definitely, he's the best player and the MVP of this season. But in my own prediction, he is no match to Kobe Bryant when it comes to matchups, because Kobe's Lakers has good transition plays than Lebron's Cavs.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California Author

At this time I will concede and back off my comparison of LeBron and Kobe. Kobe is near the end of his era and LeBron is just coming into his own. Kobe's performance against Denver was very impressive however it came against a very porous defense. LeBron couldn't get his team to perform against Orlando. Kobe wins this round, but LeBron has many great years ahead of him. However, if LeBron was asked to cover Kobe, Kobe would struggle because LeBron is tremendously athletic and nearly 5 inches taller. Kobe has not shown that he can perform consistently against taller athletic defenders including the Houston series in which he struggled to do well against Artest and Battier.


mvp 7 years ago

lebron is better then kobe


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California Author

lebron is better; but his antics after last year's play offs shows a need for growth in maturity.


Sporty Storms profile image

Sporty Storms 6 years ago from New York

I actually did a comparison of the two in one of my blog's and I agree Lebron is the better player. As far as his behavior after last year's playoff, I feel that the media was way too hard on him. We're all human and if you was to work so hard at something that was so close, just to have your whole team let you down, you may behave similar, despite your age. Dwight Howard even took up for him in a way, saying that he understood his disappointment. Hopefully now with the addition of Shaq, he'll get the ring that he very much deserves.


Gemineye profile image

Gemineye 6 years ago

I agree, I think LeBron is an amazing player, with skill in every aspect of his game. I think when his career is through(on his current pace), he may very well be recognized as the best of all time. Believe it or not!


Jake 6 years ago

Lebron is better and the distance between them is widening


Bob Car 6 years ago

HEY ECOGGINS

CHECK OUT THIS HUBBER CALLED GREAT WIDE OPEN.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

I couldn't agree more, he got the moves and at a young age got two MVP on his name, I hope he stays with the Cavalier, Maita


Walkster profile image

Walkster 6 years ago from Lavergne,tn

I enjoyed your article. I am a Celtics fan and i deeply hate the lakers lol but Kobe is the best player in the game though it pains me to say so. Lebron lacks maturity and at this point in time it keeps him from taking his team to the championship. If you watched game six with the suns and the lakers, Kobe hit shots in the 4th quarter with 3 people hanging on him that only one other person to ever play the game could have hit (Michael Jordan). Im not worried about the Celtics playing the lakers but i am worried about them playing Kobe!


nickg480 profile image

nickg480 6 years ago

I think it is very hard to say that lebron is better than kobe. They are extremely different types of players and the play different positions (even though james can play every position). Personally, i feel that kobe is a better BASKETBALL player. James is all muscle and power, kobe is a shooter, scorer, and all around great bball player.


Godwin Nwando profile image

Godwin Nwando 6 years ago from San Diego

He can show leadership in Miami.


ExpertNBA 5 years ago

Lebron is better and it's not even close.

Over the past three seasons Lebron has averaged more points

over the past three seasons Lebron has averaged more rebounds

over the past three seasons Lebron has averaged more assists

over the past three seasons Lebron has shot a higher field goal percentage

over the past three seasons Lebron has shot a higher Three point percentage

over the past three seasons Lebron has had a higher PER rating, a higher defensive rating and higher effeciency rating.

Lebron has won 2 MVP's already, Kobe has 1. Lebron finished 2nd in defensive player of the year award in 2009 and Kobe never finished that high.

Lebron and Kobe have played eachother 14 times and Lebron has won 9.

Lebron is the better player in the fourth quarter of games. Lebron is better in the clutch contrary to popular belief. Lebron is better in the playoffs. SOURCE for all of this is here: http://lebronjameskobe.blogspot.com/2010/09/statis

The ONLY argument is that Kobe has 5 rings except the problem with that argument is that Kobe has obviously had WAY better teamates. Kobe shot only 8 for 24 in game 7 of the finals last year and his team still won. The Lakers were 5-0 without Kobe last year. Kobe had Shaq. After Shaq left, Kobe didn't even make the playoffs the year after...then he lost in the first round two years in a row and went to the media and asked for a trade. Then they got Pau Gasol and won championships. Kobe didn't even shoot over 50% in the last two NBA finals yet his team still won. Kobe has had great teamates. Lebron is a better player.

Lebron has 16,169 career points at 26 years old...Kobe was 29 years old when he reached that many. Lebron James is a better player period.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

ExpertNBA, thank you for your seemingly informed opinion. It is difficult to compare the two at this current time because in the last few years Kobe has set aside his need to pad personal stats in order to play in a more team concept scheme. It could also be argued that Kobe is near the end of his career while LeBron is just reaching his prime. I am not like others who think LeBron dialed it in in the last playoff game (after all he came away with a triple double). Rings do make a difference and as you say Kobe had Shaq for the first go round and Pau Gasol for the second. As a pure athlete, I think you are right, but with his new team in Miami there should be no more excuses.


josh 5 years ago

But remember Kobe and Shaq did not win in their first season together, nor did Kobe and gasol.

Lebron carried the cavs to the finals on his own, Kobe couldn't after Shaq.

Kobes high scoring seasons were the same seasons the lakers were not playoff threats any longer.

Cleveland traded away any talent that passed through there, and they have had a few players that would of helped lebron in those playoff games.

Kobe started as a reserve, not a starter, averaged maybe 10 points his rookie and sophmore seasons, and what coach let's a player shoot 39 attempts, makes 17 and plays 38+ minutes.

The only reason his points are high in those games is the 20 free throw points.

Funny thing 8 or more of kobes 50+ point games are losses. That's not playing for the team!!!


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

Josh. Thank you for sharing. You make a strong argument. It is true that Kobe could not have won the first three rings without Shaq. And, he showed he could not carry the Lakers to championships on his own. However, even Michael Jordan had to have a solid cast of role players to win championships. Kobe has in LA something LeBron did not seem to have in Cleveland that is a great owner who is willing to acquire what the Lakers need to complement Kobe. Still Kobe would never have done to LA what LeBron to did to Cleveland. Kobe shows maturity in that he has been willing to get other players involved and he has two more rings to show for it. Both have incredible mobility, but LeBron is a better all around talent because of his extra size. Basically, LeBron is Magic Johnson and Dr. J rolled up in one player. Time will tell if he ever leads his team to an NBA Championship. Maybe after Kobe and the cast in Boston retire.


HUmBle, no HUBris profile image

HUmBle, no HUBris 5 years ago

My opinion: Kobe Bryant is the greater basketball player! Reason: If I had been an ambitious NBA team owner hungry for a championship, Kobe Bryant would've been my #1 choice to build a great team around in the post-Michael Jordan era. In fact, Tim Duncan would have been my choice #2 for this honour. If one considers a combination of skills, athleticism & power, LeBron James might very well be the greatest ever in the NBA (although his recentmost performances cannot substantiate this claim; he has to redeem himself by playing excellently in the remaining 3 games of the NBA finals 2011). However, When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going....and nobody proves that better than Kobe! The man's work-ethic, basketball IQ, talent, hunger for success and clutch performances are simply breathtaking! In 2003, when he was charged with rape and did not even know if he would remain a free man, he came to the basketball court and put up some of his most spirited performances! Every time a defender from the opposition has some success in controlling Kobe, Kobe returns the following season with new weapons in his arsenal to combat the defender-extraordinaire! Yes, he was very lucky to have a great coach like Phil Jackson to guide him, but one has to give Kobe credit for ignoring a lot of Phil Jackson's taunts & criticisms (Jackson, amongst other things, had declared Kobe "uncoachable"!) and accept him as a coach, simply because he realised that he needed Jackson's leadership in order to be the kind of champ he wished to be! Mind you, all this is coming from a person who isn't even a fan of Kobe's....I think he's rude, foul-mouthed, arrogant & oftentimes whiny too. His biggest shortcoming on the basketball court is his frequent tendency to hog the ball, which I strongly believe is because his ego won't allow him to let anybody else steal his thunder. However, in the final analysis, I'll have to admit that Kobe's brilliance by a long way overshadows his few failures!


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

HUmble, no HUbris, You make a thoughtful case. I am a Laker fan but I cannot get into the black mamba motif. I do believe Kobe is super talented and has proved to be a winner. And, he has had both excellent coaching and the best owner (Dr. Buss) in basketball on his side. Tonight should an interesting game to watch because I believe Lebron has purposely accepted a supporting role to Dwayne Wade. But after Tuesday's loss, I expect Lebron to come out all guns blazing. If he cannot get it done tonight (or at least do more than his part e.g. triple double) then there is seriously something wrong with his competitive heart.


HUmBle, no HUBris profile image

HUmBle, no HUBris 5 years ago

LeBron DID get a triple double, but didn't show much of a competitive heart! I'm planning on posting a hub article about that game within the next few hours.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

Yes, you r right about that. It leaves one to wonder, doesn't it.


HUmBle, no HUBris profile image

HUmBle, no HUBris 5 years ago

Yeah, and if we needed any further proof of the fact that Miami lacks the maturity & focus required to beat Dallas in this series, then Dwayne Wade & LeBron James provided us with that evidence by mocking Dirk Nowitzki's Game 4 illness prior to Game 5!!!! Wonder how much DWade will laugh if Nowitzki does a funny impression of his hip injury! Anyway, Nowitzki had the last laugh!


Phil The Gain profile image

Phil The Gain 5 years ago from Planet Earth

Lebron is not the best. Hes not even the best on his team.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

Yeah, it seems so, but I think he chose to give Dwayne Wade the spotlight this year. I think things will be different next year and they will deliver the promised championship.


Phil The Gain profile image

Phil The Gain 5 years ago from Planet Earth

Lebron is not the best player in the NBA. He has a ways to go still. Plus, we have some up and comers that will challenge for the spot, like Blake Griffin, Durant, D. Rose, and of course the best Miami Heat player D.Wade.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California Author

Phil the Gain, I have to agree that LeBron is not the best at this time. Dwayne Wade who may have more heart is beat up and probably near the end of his career. Kevin Durant is definitely on the up and coming as are Griffin and Kevin Love. Still, none of those guys has the overall game that LeBron has. The problem LeBron faces is whether he has the leadership skills to get his team to the finishline with the trophy. Rose has definitely shown that kind of resolve, may be LeBron should have gone to Chicago after all.


samtenabray profile image

samtenabray 4 years ago from uk

LeBron still bossing the NBA! But Kevin Durant is coming through!


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

LeBron puts up impressive numbers. No doubt he has the potential to be something special and at times has been, but at this point he isn't even bossing his own teammates. I still think he will get a championship someday, but he has yet to show that he is the guy in the locker room who can push his team over the top. Dwayne Wade is probably that guy, but who knows how much more he has left in him.


Deeejay 4 years ago

Lebron is the best in the league, and Wade second, or the other way round.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

Thank you Deeejay for your opinion. I agree that LeBron might be the best individually talented overall (although Kevin Durant might have something to say about), but until he gets his team into the winner's circle he cannot be considered the best. He needs a ring and he needs to be the guy who grabs that ring for his teammates (he cannot ride the coattails of Wade who seems to have more heart).


Y2G profile image

Y2G 4 years ago

LeBron has been the best since 2008.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

I first wrote this sometime in 2009 after the Lakers lost to Boston and before Kobe won his fourth championship ring. In many ways I stand by this article, but...

Physically, LeBron is indeed the best overall talent. Physically, he can do it all. But as we have seen, it takes more than physical talent to win championships. To be the best of the best, he has to show leadership on and off the court; the type of leadership that propels teams to win the coveted ring. He has come close twice, but he needs to close out the deal to be considered the outright best.

In the past he had Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in his way. The Lakers with a front office led by the Buss family which shows the will to put together temas that can win it all. Now he has Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant in his way. We will see if LeBron can get it done.


Y2G profile image

Y2G 4 years ago

I believe he has shown plenty of leadership, he just struggles in the closing moments of games. He definitely needs to win a ring to cement his legacy.


MundaneMondays 4 years ago

LOL Lebron is the best ? Over Dirk ? Wade ? Kobe ? Durant ? lol ... dude is all hype, first things first i say this cause a ring does not make a player, if lebron was this super player ..why did it take him till now to get on a winning team ? Kobe had the shack combo ..but even after he took some losses ..but he still learned to work with a team and the lakers were basic..they had no over the top player ..just excellent team work ..i dont condone this ..but good hub


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

LeBron is definitely the best overall talent in the NBA. No one can do the big three (score, rebound, and pass for assists) like LeBron. This year he even overcame injury to put away the Thunder in Game 5. I was most impressed with his humility in the interview after Game 2 when Oklahoma City almost came back from behind (the foul no call at the end notwithstanding). He could have pumped his chest like Kobe would have done, but he gave credit where credit was due. Michael Jordan also needed Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and afterward Dennis Rodman, along with sharp shooters like Steve Kerr and John Paxton to win all, too.


vickkeyz 2 years ago

Tru Tru True!!

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