No , it’s not because he doesn’t have as many NBA championships in his resume and likely never will.
It has nothing to do with career statistics either.
It’s simply that , despite all LeBron’s aspirations to be The Best , he has not hitherto demonstrated the dedication and hard work necessary to achieve that status.
The difference between Kobe and LeBron is best illustrated by this anecdote related by Ron Artest when he interviewed himself for ESPN the magazine.
According to Artest, he and several of his Laker team mates were locked in a card game whiling away the time on the team plane when Kobe interrupted their game and pulled him aside. This is the wayArtest tells it : ” We’ll be on the plane, playing cards. Kobe will walk up, stop the game and say, “Ron, come to the back of the plane.” Then, he’ll show me some tape and say, “Look at this. Here’s what you need to do.” I’ll go back to my seat, and then he’ll walk up to Shannon Brown, stop the card game and do the same thing. And it doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping. He’ll wake you up and show you things you’ve never thought about. He puts so much time and passion into the game. I have no problem following somebody who’s worth being followed, who works as hard as me. I will follow Kobe anywhere.”
This sort of dedication has been a hallmark of Kobe Bryant from the time he first entered the NBA. He is a walking encyclopedia of past NBA games and the achievements of NBA greats . He has been known to surprise a coach with a question , say, about MJ’s move in the third quarter of the Bulls playoff game against the Jazz in 1995.He has watched so much tape that , much like a chess Grandmaster, he has instant recall of games that happened a decade ago or more. He has always been a demon for pratice and has worked innumerable hours to develop a remarkable understanding with his teammates. To my knowledge, no other player has such a grasp of the subtle nuances of the game. As his body ages, he has worked extra hard to develop new tricks in his repertoire. Last year, during the off season, he worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon to develop his post game . He may no longer be able to slash to the basket the way he used to but he is just as effective because of his new post-up moves.
LeBronJames is undeniably more gifted physically than Kobe Bryant. He is much more rugged , an inch or two taller , and by far the better rebounder However, he has never shown anywhere near the same interest in developing his game. Seven years after he entered the league, little about his game has changed except his outside shooting. Whatever he is, he is because of his innate physical talents. With time , these inevitably will erode ; what then ?
LeBron loves to party and the bright lights of South Beach are bound to be a distraction.Will he devote the necessary time and effort to mesh with Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh and his other Heat teammates ? Will he work to improve his game , to subjugate his undeniable talents for the greater good of the team ? He could …. perhaps. But if his actions to date are any indication of the future, I don’t think he will. And that is why I don’t think that LeBron James will ever be the equal of Kobe Bryant, let alone Michael Jordan.