WATCH: When LeBron James and Kobe Bryant Waged War Against Each Other

Published 01/24/2021, 10:37 PM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 10: The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant greets the Cavaliers’ Lebron James before the start of their game 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)


LeBron James entered the league exactly seven years after Kobe Bryant stepped foot on the NBA floor. Post Michael Jordan’s exit, basketball’s greatest stage needed strong shoulders to carry forward its popularity. Both Kobe and Bron ensured the same and proved instrumental in taking the sport to even greater heights.

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While Kobe joined a more established and highly valued franchise, LeBron, just like MJ, began his career with an underdog brand. However, the Black Mamba had to work hard to cement his place, and it was only in his third year that he could become a regular starter. Bron was more like a cornerstone to his team from the rookie year itself.

So what happened when these two forces collided against one another?

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Iconic moments when LeBron James and Kobe Bryant faced each other

Bron and Kobe played 22 games against each other, with Bron enjoying an unassailable 16-06 lead. Sadly, they never met in the playoffs, but the two still left us with some memorable sporting moments that find a place in NBA history books.. Take a look at them –

Their first meeting ever

On January 12, 2004, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James fought one another for the first time. Even though Kobe was already a 3-time NBA Champion while Bron was just a rookie, the match was hyped as a precursor to an epic rivalry. The Lakers won that low-scoring battle 89-79.

When commentators noticed something

On January 12, 2006, just two years after clashing for the first time, the two met again. Unfortunately for young LeBron, the result was again the same; the Lakers defeated the Cavs by a single-point margin (99-98).

The 7th minute in the game was memorable for Kobe getting the better of Bron inside the paint. The commentators had noted, “You can see Kobe’s eyes lighting up when he realised the man back was LeBron James and he took it right to him.”

A warm hug to begin a brutal game

On January 19, 2009, the Lakers beat the Cavs 105-88. In this game, the Black Mamba scored a 20-point double-double while Bron scored 23 points. They hugged each other before the tip-off and then had a brutal duel. They fouled on one another, blocked, stole; it was a treat to the eyes.

Heating LeBron James vs Aging Kobe Bryant

On February 10, 2013, the Miami Heat LeBron met the 5-time NBA Champion, Kobe Bryant. The match went neck-to-neck until the fourth quarter, where the Lakers succumbed to way too many turnovers. Bron and Dwyane Wade combined for 62 points and that left a 28-point Kobe soaring.

The last dance between the two

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On March 10, 2016, the two legends crossed paths for the last time in their 13-year rivalry. This was the season of Cavs, and they comfortably defeated the Lakers 120-108.

There were moments in the game when Kobe scored a three-pointer over LeBron and also when the Akron Hammer amazingly blocked Kobe. 

Out of the 22 battles, these certainly remained the prime highlights where the two greats locked horns, shared respect, and showed aggression. Which one from the list became your favorite duel? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sourabh Singh

1419 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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