The Lakers' 2021-22 season has been a complete disaster and the toll of the blame has fallen on LeBron James's shoulders. Despite having some of the best individual numbers of his career, LeBron has failed to make his team work together or get them fired up. That has drawn a lot of criticism from fans and people around the NBA world, as Matt Barnes thinks the leadership is non-comparable to the level of greats like MJ or Kobe.
This failure of a season that was announced to be a championship hunt diminished LeBron's legacy and the GOAT case, naturally stirring up the conversations about how Jordan and Kobe wouldn't allow for this to happen.
Former NBA player and ESPN analyst Matt Barnes talked about this topic and explained the difference in the mentality between these greats:
"You look at someone like a Kobe Bryant. When I've seen him personally get in people's faces and just cuss them out until they're damn near in tears, and they're grown men. Michael Jordan probably would have been fighting his teammates if he had to see some of the stuff that these guys do."
Matt Barnes, NBA On ESPN
LeBron has always been criticized for not having that killer mentality, unlike MJ or Kobe. Jordan has been notorious for tormenting his teammates and expecting them to be on their absolute best while letting them know about it. "The Last Dance" documentary showed that in all its glory.
Kobe also got notorious for demanding the best out of his team and being a true leader. Matt Barnes, who had the chance to play alongside Kobe for a few years, knows all about that. But LeBron, on the other hand, has always been a bit softer in that department.
It's more than just shying away from taking the game over and scoring, but rather facilitating around the team and having no problem of setting up a teammate for a clutch shot -- something you would rarely see from Jordan or Kobe in the clutch.
But that also translates to the off-court stuff and leadership. Sure, LeBron is the vocal leader in the locker room, but it seems he gave up halfway through the season instead of trying to uplift their spirits and maybe make some kind of a run. If not by being friendly, at least maybe holding them accountable and putting fear into the young guys.
But LeBron instead chose to pad his stats a bit towards the end, load manage, and sit out when he needs, rather than possibly willing his team at least into the play-in, similar to what Kobe did back in 2013. But once again, it's just proven how LeBron is not really comparable to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant in more aspects than just pure talent and skill.