In 2012, LeBron James Was in His Prime, but Larry Bird Still Chose Kobe Bryant Over Him. Here’s Why

Published 08/30/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 10: The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks to shoot past the Cavaliers’ LeBron James during their 120-108 loss to Cleveland at Staples Center Thursday night. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: lakers.0311.kjs — Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register — 3/10/16 The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Staples Center Thursday night. 3/10/16 (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)


Amongst the top NBA icons, basketball contemporaries Kobe Bryant and LeBron James displayed Jordanesque dominance. Their legacy has led to Kobe vs LeBron debates for a long time. Back in 2012, Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird made his decision when both the players were in action.

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When LeBron James got drafted in the league in 2003, Kobe Bryant had recently completed a three-peat. He was ruling over his opponents and stamped his image as Michael Jordan’s replica. While the Lakers superstar had become an all-time favorite, LeBron entered the list of elites. From playing for Cleveland to the Miami Heat Big3 days, Bron emerged as an NBA poster boy.

LeBron James for fun and Kobe Bryant for winning, says Larry Bird

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With two dedicated players in the league, the comparisons began in full swing between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. In an interview dated, 8th February 2012, the 80s star Larry Bird picked Kobe over LeBron while playing Mamba’s mentality as the factor.

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Bird told – “His (Kobe’s) desire to win, his dedication in the offseason to get better and he just tough. But if you wanna have fun like I did with Bill Walton, you play LeBron. It’s more fun to play with LeBron but if you want to win it’s Kobe.”

Bird is a legend of his time, who played for the Boston Celtics for his entire NBA career. He is a 3-time champion, 2-time Finals MVP, and 3-time season MVP. The Hall of Famer had transformed the look of his franchise as title contenders in the league.

All-time GOAT debate weighing James and Bryant

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LeBron vs Kobe banter is a long-time conversation that never found a decisive end.

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, right, and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James have their game face on as they guard each other in the fourth quarter at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. Lakers lost 98–95. LeBron James scored 14 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant finished with 33 points. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) | Courtesy: Getty Images

Bryant, throughout his phenomenal 20-year career, remained loyal to the Lakers franchise. His talent coupled with his winning instinct made him one of the greatest players in NBA history. On the other hand, Bron was growing as a player in Miami Heat. Alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he went on to win the first two rings of his career.

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At present, Bron holds four championships to his name, and he is eager to equal Kobe’s five trophies in the next season. The 36-YO is also serving Kobe’s home team Lakers for three years. The 2020 championship was won by James in the Orlando bubble amidst a pandemic.

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Pavni Ahuja

504 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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