In the never-ending GOAT debate, most younger fans today would mention either LeBron James or the late great Kobe Bryant as the two players they look up to the most. Even though both commanded great respect and success in their careers, their impact on the game and playing style is much different. With his 6’8, 250-pound frame, LeBron uses his physical presence to make plays for himself and his teammates, while Kobe had a whole bunch of moves in his repertoire to make the right play, for the most part only for himself.
Their mindset in approaching the game also differed, with Kobe being in constant attack mode trying to break his opponents physically and mentally. At the same time, LeBron would often get his teammates involved more than himself. LeBron is a true point guard in a power forward body, always looking to make plays for others. Kobe, just like Michael Jordan, had that killer mentality in which he was looking to get himself going and making his defender work all the time.
It’s always great to hear what former NBA players have to say about comparing the two, especially those who had the opportunity to match up against both of them. One of them who had this opportunity is former NBA player Quentin Richardson, who appeared on the Sumitcan podcast to discuss his experience going up against the two legends. He shared why it was always easier to guard LeBron for him even though he has tremendous respect for both players.
I think it’s different for different people, but for me, I was more of a strength and strong guy, so for me, LeBron was easier to guard than Kobe. He doesn’t have the same type of moves and skillset that Kobe has. Kobe is fast; he can break you down with handles and do all these fakes and different things. For LeBron, his strength is the biggest factor, and when you hear guys say they have a hard time with him, it’s because normally he can overpower them. He was stronger than me, too, but I would still have an easier time guarding him than Kobe.Quentin Richardson, via Sumitcan
Many former players already mentioned they had a tougher job guarding Kobe simply because his mindset was to always be in attack mode. On the other hand, LeBron is a great scorer in his own right, but he never developed such a variety of moves he could use on offense, and on top of that, he is constantly looking to get his teammates going first and foremost. It’s worth noting that LeBron improved dramatically on offense in the last few years when he figured out how to combine his physical gifts with reliable shooting, and his knowledge and experience are a significant asset in their own right.