‘Meticulous With His Execution’ – Former Teammate Explains How Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were so Different

Published 04/18/2021, 1:00 PM EDT
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


Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were the two defining players of their generation. Bryant became the face of the NBA when Jordan called time on his career. But by 2003, James entered the NBA and immediately took over the entire league. Eventually, Bryant passed the torch on to LeBron, who is still carrying it to this day. But one former teammate of both players explains how different they both are.

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Former teammate talks Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

Former NBA star Coby Karl gave an interview. Karl was a teammate of James and Bryant at different stages of their career. He noted that he has not seen any player impact the game the way LeBron James has. Because of his youth, James could play at the highest level on both ends of the court. But Kobe Bryant would use his mental edge to get an advantage over his opponents.

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Lakers Kobe Bryant argues with a referee as Cavaliers LeBron James laughs at the Staples Center Friday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“It was just a very different time in their careers. But when I played with LeBron, I’d never seen anyone affect the game in so many different ways. He could physically dominate on the defensive end, block a shot, get the rebound, going down in transition, and then dunk on you. Whereas Kobe did it in more of a mental, psychological way.” 

Kobe vs LeBron – who was better?

Karl noted how Kobe Bryant was so lethal when he played on the court. If his opposition let him bring the ball to the half-court, Bryant would take the opportunity more times than not. But Bryant didn’t have the same physical prowess that James did. Because James had a great deal of physicality and his youth, and that allowed him to do things that Kobe couldn’t do.

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“He was lethal in so many different ways, especially once that you got into the half-court at the end of the game. He was meticulous with his execution there. But he didn’t have the same physicality that LeBron had and youth. LeBron was so energetic at that point, he would do things that – he still does them today but at that point, that’s just who he was and so useful.” 

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Both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are two of the most exciting players in NBA history. Both have put up historical numbers in their career and won so many accolades. But who did you think was better? Let us know in the comments below.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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