here's hoping this debate can be put to bed for a couple of weeks since both players have a tough test in front of them before a LeBron v. Kobe NBA Finals can happen. Everyone seems to have an opinion on LeBron v. Kobe, and you know what they say about opinions. When Jerry West talks, however, the guy who the NBA Logo is fashioned after, the man who built the Lakers into a dynasty in the 80's, then again in the late 90's, the man who traded for Kobe Bryant and brought him to LA, yes when Jerry West speaks, I pay a bit of attention.
West was asked by the LATimes during an interview which player he prefers. The answer must have surprised more than a few Los Angelinos -
"I look at Cleveland [and] say to myself, 'How many games could they win without LeBron James?' " West told Reuters in an interview. "That's how great he is.
"He has a chance to be arguably the greatest player ever to play the game."Better than even Michael Jordan?
"Michael Jordan was the best defensive player in the league, but he was also the best offensive player," West said. "It wasn't a one-year fluke, he proved it over time.
"LeBron James will do the same type of things because he's getting better. He's a much more effective shooter. When he's making his shots from the outside, you can't play him.
"He's just too big, too strong, too quick. And he has incredible body control. But more than that, he's a great teammate. You can see his teammates love him."
But even though it's hard for me to be objective, because I brought Kobe to Los Angeles, I do think LeBron has surpassed Kobe as a player."
While this in no way puts the issue to bed, it does show exactly what great basketball mind like West sees in LeBron. What we all see in LeBron.
There is this little tidbit as well. Remember back to the Draft Lottery in 2003. Jerry West was running the Memphis Grizzlies. Detroit was to get the Grizzlies first round pick UNLESS that pick was #1 overall. When the envelopes were opened, and only two remained, it came down to the Cavaliers and Grizzlies for the right to draft LeBron.
We know how it turned out, of course - LeBron came to the Cavaliers, Detroit selected Darko Milicic with the #2 pick. How close West came, however, to perhaps building another dynansty, this time in Tennessee.