VERSUS: Is LeBron Leaving a Better Legacy than Kobe?
LeBron James has laced his 16s and hit the road, mesmerised by LA’s bright lights, young blood, and the promise of some shiny new bling missing from his fingers.
But Hollywood’s already written their scripts: January 22, 2006: Kobe Bryant scores career-high 81 points vs. Toronto. June 4, 2000: Lakers recover 16-point deficit to take Game 7 vs. Portland. August 24, 2008: Bryant brings home first Olympic gold medal.
Can LeBron James find his own place in a town still stalked by the Black Mamba?
A few hours out from the NBA season opener, two of our writers went 1v1 over one question fundamental to both players' legacies: Who left a trail of better sneakers? Eight rings, 64,681 points and more than 50 sneakers between them, the battle for Tinseltown is on, and it sure as hell ain't big enough for the both of them.
Are you seriously going to argue that LeBron James is forging a more impressive sneaker legacy than Kobe Bryant? Kobe. The Black Mamba. Two jerseys retired, five rings and decades worth of sneakers; are you ill??
Quality over quantity, my friend. Though when it comes to LeBron's sneaker repertoire, he's got quality in quantity.
You really calling this quality?
Halloween's coming up. These are gonna go sweet with my Michael Myers get-up. We all know LBJ loves to get into the Halloween spirit.
Well, while LeBron busies himself with cheap gimmicks, Kobe busied himself forging the greatest ever sneaker legacy behind MJ. Kobe was up against the best of the best (both on the court and in the sneaker game). MJ; Shaq; Barkley. Who does LeBron compete against? Chef Curry and his Under Armours?
If we're going to bring on-court antics into this, let's not overlook the fact that Kobe had big poppa Shaq to carry him through the first three rings. And the biggest salary in the league to carry him through the rest. LeBron is a one man army. He undeniably, single-handedly carried the Cavs to the last NBA Championships.
The point is to win them ...
It's not LeBron's fault his own teammates don't know which way to shoot the ball! LeBron doesn't have any competition in the sneakerworld because his output is on a whole other level compared to the competition!
That's all well and good to flex on the likes of Harden and Westbrook, but you're telling me his sneakers flex on Kobe Bryant's? Three words: Zoom. Kobe. 4.
You're living in the past, homie. LeBron's sneakers have been fresh from day one and just keep on getting better. Show me a performance sneaker from the last 10 years that can rival the 'South Beach' 8s.
Fair, but Back to the Future anything is a sure-fire heater. It's not like Kobe had anything to do with them.
Are you kidding me? Don't you remember when Kobe rocked up at Undefeated in the DeLorean for the launch? COME ON.
So? That's still only one shoe that he 'may' or may not have been involved with.
C'mon you know he had a hand in these ...
Still, Kobe was just riding those Back to the Future coattails; that's all he does. Lakers make-ups? That’s a given. What the Kobe? The Dunk did that first. And the 'What The' LeBrons were better anyway! Bruce Lees? Any shoe would look good stealing the Onitsuka colours. Show me a great Kobe sneaker with an original colourway.
Man, that's not fair! You know I'm a sucker for purple!
How can you say he only rides coattails? Before the Kobe 4, no one in the NBA was even wearing low-tops. Enter Kobe and the 4 and you’ve got half the league's shooting guards running around in them. Talk about league-wide impact. What’s LeBron ever done with that kind of impact?
Dude, nobody was wearing low-tops because they didn't want busted ankles! Why do you think Kobe switched to super-high-tops for his last on-court sneakers? Perfect for protecting those delicate ankles on a night out on the town.
Yo, no one flops like LeBron.
You know what LeBron's sneakers smell like? Failure. Playoff failure. Sneakers are immortalised once they step up to the the rings. Kobe never chased them, he stayed at the Lakers and solidified his legacy. The last time I saw someone chase this much bling since was your sister in the mid 00s.
You leave my sister out of this! Can you blame the greatest player in the league for wanting to ditch the deadweight and be recognised for his greatness? You saw the Finals. Everybody felt embarrassed for LeBron! Besides, if Kobe is so great, why were Nike already paying him more straight out of high school than they were Kobe off the back of his third Championship ring?
You got numbers to back that up? #fakenews
They signed LeBron to a seven-year, $90 million contract in 2003 before he even set foot on court. One month later, Kobe could only muster four years at $40 mil. LeBron was always paid more and always considered the better athlete, that's why he always got the better sneakers. And you're forgetting, Kobe's done. His career is over. LeBron is only just hitting his stride. He's in his prime. He's in motherfucking Space Jam 2!
Oh come on, he's 33 FFS. Over the hill. The only reason Nike pumped so much money into him was because there wasn't anyone else around. What were they supposed to do? Throw money at Carmelo?
I'm done with player stats, LeBron would topple Kobe in a game of one-on-one and you know it.
Fine, let's talk sneaker stats. 50k for two sneakers. Beat that!
Dude, they're Jordans! Of course they're going to cost you an arm and leg! Can you imagine if they allowed LeBron to make a Jordan 3? With the Dunkman on the tongue?
LeBron is a hardcore sneakerhead and you know it. The dude is a part owner of his own God-damn sneaker store! Give him full control of design and he leaves Kobe for dust. 'Sprite', 'South Beach', 'Dunkman'.... we owe all of these colourways to LeBron. The man turned Fruity Pebbles cereal into one of the finest basketball sneakers the world has ever seen!
Pfft. Shit's soggy AF. How about the 2K5 'LA Map'? The Hyperdunk 'McDonalds All American'? LeBron's only leaving one legacy: Ls. He will NEVER touch Kobe's legacy, on the court or in the soles. Go take a lie down; I'll get you a damp cloth and warm lemonade. Sleep it off, it's over.
You do realise I haven't even brought up the KOBE TWO, right?
Who took the w?
Keen for more VERSUS? Here's what went down when one of our writers called the Undercover x React Element 87 'colab of the year'.