Kobe Bryant and LeBron James may be the two greatest players to put on an NBA uniform, since Michael Jordan retired. Now, the greatest of all time is letting people know who he thinks is better.
In an interview with NBA TV, Jordan stated that, if he had to choose, he would take Bryant over James. For Jordan, the number of championships gives the Los Angeles Lakers star the edge.
"Five beats one every time I look at it," Jordan said. "And not that (James) won't get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one."
In 16 seasons, Bryant has had much more success with his team than James. The shooting guard has won five titles, and has been to seven NBA Finals. James has had three chances to win it all, but didn’t pick up his first championship until last season with the Miami Heat.
If James can keep up this pace, however, there’s a chance that the former Chicago Bulls star will have to change his answer. The 10-year veteran is playing as well as any player in recent memory. On Thursday, he snapped a streak of six games with at least 30 points, on 60 percent shooting from the field.
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Before Miami’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, James said he wasn’t bothered by Jordan’s choice.
"It doesn't matter to me," James said. "If you take Kobe one and I go second, it doesn't matter. I don't get too involved in what guys say about me or if you take Kobe or if you take LeBron. As long as I'm on the floor and I make plays for my teammates, I don't do what I do for other people's approval."
In 2011, Scottie Pippen made headlines by comparing James to his former teammate. Pippen said that James could end up being even better than Jordan.
"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game," Pippen said on ESPN Radio. "But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved.”
James may be on his way to winning his fourth MVP award in five years. The Heat remain the favorites to win the title. They enter the All-Star break with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
At 34 years old, Bryant still may be the best shooting guard in basketball. He’s averaging 26.8 points, 5.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. The Lakers, however, are currently out of the playoffs.