Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Why The 2012-2013 NBA Season Might Be The Best NBA Season You’ve Ever Seen

The first NBA game I remember watching was a Sixers game in the spring of 1986. I forgot exactly who they were playing, but I recall (well, I think I recall) Dr. J hitting a buzzer beater to win. I also recall getting a spanking (my last ever, btw) that day for peeing in the front yard. It was a memorable day, I guess.

In the 26 years since, I’ve watched thousands of NBA games. If you include the playoffs, that number is probably somewhere between 2000 and 2500. Basically, I’ve been a diehard NBA fan longer than many of you reading this have been alive.

I’m bringing this up to provide background and credibleness (I know I could have used “credibility” there, but credibleness just felt better) to make my (eventual) point.

We enter the 2012-2013 NBA season with each of the following things being true:

—More than any other recent season, 2012-2013 should serve as an example of why the competitive dynamics unique to basketball in general and the NBA in particular work.

Due to the length of the season, the amount of possession in each game, the series format of the playoffs, and (most importantly) the fact that it’s the only major sport where your best player can affect the entire game for the entire gameeach things that increase the probability that the best team will eventually win — the NBA is a true meritocracy. It’s not that the best players are usually on the best teams. The best teams are the best teams because they just happen to have one (or more) of the best players. This means that you have a general idea in November of who will be the four or five best teams in May. Actually, “general idea” isn’t strong enough. You just f*cking know who is going to be good and who won’t. Because of this, it does not have the “any-given-Sunday-ness” of the NFL or the perceived anarchy of the NCAA tournament.

As you’ve probably guessed, I love the fact that it’s split into clearly defined tiers of “legitimate shot,” “competitive, but no legitimate shot this year,” and “no f*cking chance.” Thing is…you love it too. Yes, you do. Stop trying to deny it.

As much as (some) people gripe about the NBA having no parity, more people are interested in it when there are “super” teams with narratives and superstars with story arcs. Aside from diehard fans (read: people like me) no one is interested in the NBA when it has an NFL-esque competitive balance.

How do I know this? Well, in the few seasons when you did have legitimate parity (ie; 2005 when the Spurs beat the Pistons in the Finals or the entire 70’s — 10 years, 9 different champions), nobody f*cking watched or cared! Nobody! But, when you have teams like Jordan’s Bulls or Magic’s Lakers or Bird’s Celtics or even Shaq’s Lakers, you motherf*ckers watch. And, in a year where you have four “super” teams with a legitimate shot at a title (Heat, Lakers, Thunder, and Celtics), you’re going to see another interest/ratings boon.

—There’s a fifth team (Spurs) that was the best team in the league last season until the last three weeks of the playoffs. They’re returning their entire team, btw.

—Aside from the six teams already mentioned, there are at least 15 others that could either be considered “legitimately good” or “legitimately interesting.” The Knicks are neither, and that’s a legitimately interesting fact in itself.

—Speaking of the Knicks, they enter the season as the oldest team in NBA history, a fact that’s almost as interesting as the fact that the Timberwolves enter the season as the Whitest NBA team in 30 years. I think this matters.

—There is a NBA basketball team in Brooklyn. A basketball team that might actually not be not good. I think this matters too.

—Between Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Ray Allen, Kobe, Nash, Dwight Howard, Metta, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kevin Garnett, Rondo, Paul Pierce, Durant, Westbrook, James Harden, Derrick Rose, Dirk, Melo, Jason Kidd, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Jeremy Lin, the season begins with more “name” players (in this sense, a “name” player is someone who can appear in a commercial without the commercial’s script needing to say “Hey, professional basketball player Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, what are you doing in my car?“) than every other major sports league combined.

***This list doesn’t even include fringe name people (Amare, Gasol, etc), perennial all-stars who lack the status/charisma to ever be a name person (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Al Horford, etc), average NBA players who are fringe name people in pop culture circles because of women they’ve f*cked (Matt Barnes, Kris Humphries, Daniel Gibson, etc), soon-to-be name people (Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Anthony Davis, etc), and people who everyone assumed would be a name person by now (John Wall, John Wall, John Wall, etc)***

—Speaking of “soon-to-be name” people, this season will give me the chance to continue to gloat about the fact that I purchased, assembled, and manned the wheel of the “Kyrie Irving will be a superstar” bandwagon two years ago. (No, I will never tire of reminding everyone that I called that shit was he was still in high school. Thanks for asking, though.)

—One top 10 all-time player (Kobe) has a chance — if everything goes the way it could potentially go for him — to move into the “Best career of all-time” conversation, while another top 15 all-time player (Lebron) has a chance — if everything goes the way it could potentially go for him — to continue his path towards being included in the “Best player of all-time” conversation.

(The difference between the “Best career” and “Best player” conversations? If you look at his total career — rings, records, longevity, etc — Kobe is already one of the four or five most accomplished NBA players of all-time, and will continue to climb up that chart. But, I’ve seen Magic, Bird, Jordan, Hakeem, Shaq, Duncan, and Lebron at their absolute apexes. And, a peak/prime Kobe just wasn’t better than any of those guys. This is not an insult, btw. There are worst things in the world than being the 7th or 8th best basketball player the Earth has seen in the last 30 years. If you disagree, fine. But, just know that you’re wrong. )

—Lastly, this season will allow me to continue to develop my theory about the main difference between a peak Lebron James and a peak Michael Jordan. (Not interested in making a career comparison between these two. Jordan is unquestionably the greatest player of all-time, and in order for Lebron to be in that conversation, he needs to accomplish much, much more. Just interested in comparing these two at their absolute best and figuring out whose best was/is better and why. For Jordan, this was around 1992/1993. For Lebron, this is now.)

Anyway, Michael Jordan was as close to a perfect basketball player as we’ll ever see. He had the perfect body, build, and temperament. Was extremely fundamentally sound while also being a perfect basketball athlete. He even had close to perfect form and follow through on his jumpshot. From a basketball standpoint, he was basically flawless.

Yet, despite the fact that he was a “perfect” basketball player, he did not play perfect basketball. There were times when you’d watch Jordan play and you’d think to yourself “Hmmm. I know he just dunked on like seven guys, but he probably should have passed it there.” Obviously, the result would still be favorable, but just because a decision turned out well doesn’t mean that it was the right one.

Lebron, on the other hand, is not a perfect basketball player. He is extremely skilled, but he has some conspicuous flaws. His jumpshot — although improved — remains erratic, and his footwork — although also improved — will never be as fluid as someone like Jordan or even Kobe. Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, there are parts of his game that will always leave some fans dry. He doesn’t trick or shake people as much as he overpowers or “outdecisions” them.

But, like Magic and Bird before him, he’s capable of playing perfect basketball. There were entire games in last year’s playoffs where he made the right decision every single time he had the ball. And, while Magic and Bird each had athletic limitations, Lebron has none, allowing him to control the entire game in a way that, really, no one has ever done.

Michael Jordan is still the best basketball player I’ve ever seen, but I’ve never seen anyone play better basketball than what Lebron did last summer. Basically, choosing between who you think is better at their best depends on whether you prefer a perfect basketball player or someone who plays consistently perfect basketball. All things considered, I’d choose Lebron, and I’m looking forward to this season helping to show why.

When you take all of this into account, I have to say that this has the potential to be the single best NBA season I’ve ever seen. And, if you’re my age or younger, it may be the best season you’ve ever seen, too. It’s ok to disagree with me, btw. I won’t hold it against you. Some people seem to enjoy being wrong.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Rayne

    Cool.

    Go Heat.

    • Adonis

      @Rayne

      I hope the heat choke on a cucumber. & massive injuries

      • Breezy

        + 100…and LJ came feast on a bowl of d@cks.

    • Cali

      GROSS… I want the Heat to choke on more than a cucumber… something flaming hot… long… sharp… serrated… rusty…

  • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

    GO GRIZZ!

    • That Ugly Kid

      You poor soul….

      • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

        Hey, win or lose, I always support the home team….and the underdog….

        it’s what i do

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      I have a soft spot for Memphis. No idea why, just know that I do

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Memphis plays like a team from the 80s, that’s why. They rebound well, play great physical D, and have the most complete post-presence in the NBA. They could use another shooter, but Memphis is a team that isn’t going to blow a lot of games base on how they play. In order to beat them, you have to actually outplay them. Also, if I’m the Lakers, I’m afraid of them more than the Thunder in a 7 game series simply because they have the horses to match up with them.

    • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

      YEs!!! gotta root for the hometeam.

      grimy, against all odds type of team that they are..
      just like memphis!!

      LMAO

      • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

        exactly! again,

        GO GRIZZ!

  • eye(c)ande

    Oh Champ. When you talk about the NBA…::clutches pearls::

    Btw, Thunder Up! (I thought you were going to mention the OKC-Rockets trade involving Harden. It’s hard to see him go. I will eventually look at the trade logically (and know that it is best and was inevitable) but right now, people with beards make me feel some kinda (not good) way. Male or female.

    • Iceprincess2

      Remember when champ wrote about beard envy lmao?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I thought you were going to mention the OKC-Rockets trade involving Harden”

      I’m still collecting my thoughts about that, to be honest. For now, though, I agree with Bill Simmons’ take on it.

      From his Twitter timeline:

      I fully support Harden refusing to take 4 yrs 52-54m from OKC. Could get 5 years 75-80m from Houston (no state tax). It’s no contest.

      PS: Harden didn’t ask for a trade. He just turned down a subpar offer from a team crying poverty that made 30-35 million PROFIT last season.

      PS: OKC could have kept Harden, made a title run and re-evaluated next summer – THEY were the ones that lowballed him, then traded him.

      FYI: Harden did not “leave” OKC. They offered him less than his market value, he said no, they abruptly traded him. That’s what happened.

      PS: We had a lockout + missed 16 games because NBA teams twist the truth about how much money they’re making (and continue to do so).

      OKC has everyone thinking they’re a mom & pop store, meanwhile they made 30-35 million profit last year + could sell team for $550m easy

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Let me play Devil’s Advocate here. Let’s say that either Westbrook or Durant have an injury that costs them a large chunk of a season, and they’re a mediocre team. They don’t seem to think that they’ll generate enough revenue as a mediocre team. That isn’t a shame, because there are only 6 teams that’ll make large profits no matter the record. The problem is that they’re the smallest market in the league. They’re afraid of tying up money in players they can’t deal for an elite talent and/or tons of picks because their revenue floor is a lot lower than other teams.

        I’m not saying I wouldn’t have offered the money, but I see the business case for trading Harden.

  • Maximillian

    1996.

    Best. Season. Ever.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      Why 1996?

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    I can’t wait for the 2014-201 season…when David Stern is GONE!

    • Cali

      YESSSSSSSSS!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      I’m actually going to miss him. He has fired and missed a few times, but I think overall he’s done a great job leading the league for so long

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        I just wish he wasn’t so secretive. I think his personality created a lot of drama that could have been easily avoided. No sports league has so many conspiracy theories around it, and it can be traced back to the way he conducts business.

    • http://dashwilliams.me/ Dash

      David Stern is the best commissioner of my lifetime. I’d probably be a die-hard baseball fan if Stern had taken the helm of The MLB during the 80s. No one soaks up the boos at drafts like Stern.

  • NipseysKlub

    With Kobe, if you were break down the various individual Top categories, Kobe prolly is higher on the list than 7 so it sucks for Kobe that he is at 7.
    Yea I agree this season is gonna be crazy and I am looking to the Celtics getting back to the Finals.

    • Bonquiqui

      Celtics lover here……..

    • Cali

      YEAAAAA! GREEN, muddaphukkazz!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “With Kobe, if you were break down the various individual Top categories, Kobe prolly is higher on the list than 7 so it sucks for Kobe that he is at 7″

      Which ones?

  • squeak

    Go Spurs!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      Any fan of a team that employs Dejuan Blair is a friend of mine

    • Sula

      + 1

  • Justmetheguy

    Love the last paragraph that’s in parentheses. I couldn’t put my finger on the difference between Kobe’s credentials and his actual skills and game as a player. Well said.

    I still prefer the relative parity of the NFL, but I won’t lie the NBA’s a mighty close 2nd. And who do you think got the better end of the deal in the James Harden for Kevin Martin trade?

    • Secret Sauce

      The Rockets. The only reason OKC dropped Harden is because he wanted starter money. Kevin Martin is an OK player, but it says a lot the Kings and Rockets consider you expendable.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      I understand why OKC made the deal and even the timing (aka avoiding that Dwight Howard ish). But Kevin Martin is a chucker who puts up numbers because he shoots 25 times a game. The one way I could see OKC working out from this is because they have a lot of unselfish players in that second unit, and having a chucker there might create a few shots for people who generally can’t do that on a NBA level.

      • A Negro With Many Leather-Bound Books

        “But Kevin Martin is a chucker who puts up numbers because he shoots 25 times a game. The one way I could see OKC working out from this is because they have a lot of unselfish players in that second unit, and having a chucker there might create a few shots for people who generally can’t do that on a NBA level.”

        Over the last 3 seasons, Kevin Martin has AVERAGED 21.1 PPG on 15 FGA per game. Here is the list of single seasons where a player has taken as few as 15.5 FGA per game while averaging greater than 20 PPG (both figures worse than Martin’s average): Blake Griffin ’12, David Lee ’10, Amar’e ’10, Deron Williams ’11, Love ’11 and Howard ’11 and ’12. So, Kevin Martin, Deron Williams and a bunch of bigs. Martin is the furthest thing from a chucker, his greatest strength is the same as James Harden’s greatest strength: the ability to score lots of points with few field goal attempts because of elite 3 point shooting and FT shooting (while getting to the line tons of times). OKC will miss Harden because a.) he’s younger and probably will be better than Martin at what they’re great at this year b.) Harden has playmaking ability that Martin lacks c.) Harden’s bad defense is superior to Martin’s terrible defense. The idea that Martin is a chucker is laughable though.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “And who do you think got the better end of the deal in the James Harden for Kevin Martin trade?”

      I actually think this will turn out to be a win for both teams. The Thunder picked up a ton of valuable assets, but the Rockets got the best player in the trade, and will now at least have an identity to build around.

      Is Harden overrated? Slightly. I’m not completely sure he’s the type of guy that can get you 25 a game consistently, which is what a max contract two guard is supposed to do. But, he’s a known/name player who — along with Jeremy Lin — makes the Rockets somewhat relevant.

      • Justmetheguy

        Props to the Negro with leather bound books for bringing stats to back up his points. Good sh!t.

        Yeah Champ it doesn’t seem like there was a loser in that trade. I didn’t like the fact that OKC gave up Cole Aldrich though. 7 footers who play good defense and are fundamentally sound are very valuable in the postseason, but Lamb and Martin will more than make up for Harden’s point production, and I agree that he wasn’t worth that kind of money, but I’m not sure how much they’ll miss him from a chemistry perspective. I don’t think he can get 25 a game consistently as a starter on a team with few to no superstars to handle most of the scoring load though.

        • Iceprincess2

          Wudup JMTG? What’s good baby?

          • Justmetheguy

            Chillin homie. What ya been up to?

            • Iceprincess2

              Sh*t coolin just hungover from the football gathering yesterday. Dirty birds 7-0 leggoooooo!!

              • Justmetheguy

                Word! lol, yeah they holdin it down, but I’m not gettin excited till I see at least 1 playoff victory from em. The NFC is gonna be a doozy this year

                • Iceprincess2

                  True.

  • Adonis

    NOTE: Oh boy, everybody that live around where I live (NorthEast), be safe. But I know black folk ain’t gon try to surf in a hurricane, so I think most of y’all are going to be among the living when it is all said & done.

    1. The NBA season doesn’t start until the SuperBowl ends, so I won’t be tuned in to the first part of the season.

    2. That being said, I am looking for the “Heat vs. Lakers” (Lakers in 7 in Triple OT, LeBron James Finals MVP) Finals, with the “Thunder Vs. Heat” (Thunder in 7, Quintuple OT, LeBron James MVP) Finals as a small consolation prize.

    3. Kevin Durant is like cheat codes on offense. 6″10″ and can pull up from 30ft. I hope that defensively he can be above average, so the Thunder can take that next step if the Lakers don’t.

    That’s about it for now.

    OT: Rex Ryan better start “Jesus” after the bye. It is painfully obvious he doesn’t believe in Sanchize, and Sanchize knows this.

    After this season of watching the Jets chip away at the little sanity I have left, I am taking my fan talents from the Big Apple to the Nations’ capital. Because the real “Jesus” is black.

    • Secret Sauce

      You want the Jets to start a QB who is actually worse than Mark Sanchez?

      • Adonis

        @Secret Sauce

        Yes

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “@Secret Sauce

          Yes”

          this response cracked me up

          • Adonis

            @Champion

            And YOUR response cracked me up.

            Tebow is a HORRIBLE 58 1/2 min quarterback, but he MOVES mountains (ref. Usher & Matthew 17:20) in those last 1 1/2 minutes.

            That’s good enough for me.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              The Steelers got Tebowed in last year’s playoffs. You don’t hafta convince me

  • That Ugly Kid

    “But, I’ve seen Magic, Bird, Jordan, Hakeem, Shaq, Duncan, and Lebron at their absolute apexes. And, a peak/prime Kobe just wasn’t better than any of those guys.”

    Stopped reading there because you have absolutely no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about. Kobe in his prime was better than everyone on that list save for Jordan and Shaq. Lebron should be nowhere near this list. Especially if THIS, now, currently, is his prime. Seriously? Kobe is smaller and weaker than Lebron, but has a WAY better post game. Unacceptable. Kobe still has better footwork than Lebron. And a better jumpshot. And he can get to the lane just as easily as Lebron, just differently (Kobe uses finesse and agility, Lebron uses power). And this is OLD Kobe we’re talking about. The current one. So, how the hell is Lebron Prime better than Kobe Prime, when Lebron Prime is not even better than Old Kobe?

    • Iceprincess2

      THANK. YOU. TUK.

    • A Negro With Many Leather-Bound Books

      “Stopped reading there because you have absolutely no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about. Kobe in his prime was better than everyone on that list save for Jordan and Shaq.”

      Lebron should be nowhere near this list. Especially if THIS, now, currently, is his prime. Seriously? Kobe is smaller and weaker than Lebron, but has a WAY better post game. Unacceptable. Kobe still has better footwork than Lebron. And a better jumpshot. And he can get to the lane just as easily as Lebron, just differently (Kobe uses finesse and agility, Lebron uses power). And this is OLD Kobe we’re talking about. The current one. So, how the hell is Lebron Prime better than Kobe Prime, when Lebron Prime is not even better than Old Kobe?

      This is the problem with most people’s Kobe (and Melo is another guy that often gets overrated here) judgments. You are confounding skill with effectiveness. For example, if you compare Kobe to Shaq it’s easy to see that Kobe was the better jump shooter, ball-handler, passer, free throw shooter, etc. There are an innumerable aspects of basketball at which Kobe is superior to Shaq, however, because the things that Shaq is so good at he is so completely dominant, that outweighs everything Kobe can/does bring to the table. In a comparison of LeBron vs. Kobe, it doesn’t matter that Kobe has better footwork, mid-range ability and post moves (which he does) because a.) The things LeBron is better at he tends to be massively better at and b.) The things that Kobe LOOKS like he’s better at he sometimes isn’t. With respect to the latter, let’s consider post game. Everyone in the world can see that Kobe has superior footwork and generally looks better/more controlled operating out of the post…and yet, Kobe shot 41% out of the post last season and 48.6% the season before. Meanwhile, LeBron shot 50% out of the post last season and 54% the season before.

      • That Ugly Kid

        Kobe shoots more shots from the post than Lebron. In fact, Kobe shoots more difficult shots than everyone in the league. Yet Kobe is still ranked #1 in the league at scoring from the low post amongst shoot guards. Lebron doesn’t have to play the post as much because he’s got other players to do so for him. Kobe hasn’t had a consistent post player since Shaq. Gasol has too many “off” games, and Bynum can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to be effective. And Dwight Howard is not a good post player either. He’s never been very good with his back to the basket.

        • A Negro With Many Leather-Bound Books

          Shooting more difficult shots than everyone else is not a good thing. In fact, it is a very bad thing because it often leads to misses, which is why for all his skill (and he has more than almost any player in the league) Kobe’s FG% leaves so much to be desired.

          • That Ugly Kid

            Never said it was a good thing, but it speaks volumes about his talent that he takes more difficult shots (I’m referring to not just shots from the post, but midrange shots altogether) than everyone in the league, yet he still is more effective from than range than most people in the league. In fact, he shoots 45% from about 15ft, despite the fact he shoots mostly FADEAWAYS. Not to mention that from midrange (15-23ft) he’s more consistent (shooting about 42% last season I think) than the league average, which shoots at 39%.

            • A Negro With Many Leather-Bound Books

              I’m not debating his talent. I give him that. And he was 41% from 16-23 last year (compared to 39% for LeBron), not sure how much that changes if you switch it to 15.

          • Justmetheguy

            “Shooting more difficult shots than everyone else is not a good thing. In fact, it is a very bad thing because it often leads to misses, ”

            Exactly! It’s a weakness not a strength. You hurt the rest of your team by doin that. Then his fans just blame the rest of the team sayin they were scared to shoot or that they didn’t want to. Not true, he just wouldn’t give them the chance to

            • That Ugly Kid

              He probably doesn’t want to give them the chance to because in the past they’ve proven that they, you know, can’t make shots.

              • Justmetheguy

                Basketball is a rhythm game though man. Unless you’re a Kobe or a Jordan (or maybe 3 more names that could go on that list) you’re gonna need to get in rhythm over the course of the game or more importantly the possession to have a legit shot to consistently hit shots.

                When one player possesses the ball for too long (especially during the possession) it shatters his teammates rhythm, when that happens of course they’ll miss the shot after they get it tossed to em at the last minute due to a double team while the shotclock is expiring. That’s not a natural flow of basketball, you’re asking a lot of a ball player to CONSTANTLY expect him to to take and MAKE out of rhythm shots.

          • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

            I’m not one for defending Kobe, but I’ll cut him a lot of slack. He takes a lot of difficult shots because he gets asked to take a lot of difficult shots. I’m not saying it’s smart, but when the shot clock runs down, someone has to put it up. It’s just that he takes more bailout shots that anyone in the league. I’m not sure who you blame for that, but that fact would do a number to anyone’s shooting percentage.

    • emjay

      +1000

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “The current one. So, how the hell is Lebron Prime better than Kobe Prime, when Lebron Prime is not even better than Old Kobe?”

      I was about to leave a detailed response to your comment, until I saw this last point. There are no rational basketball-watching people who still feel that Kobe is one of the top four or five players in the league right now, let alone better than Lebron. The only ones who still do are irrational Kobe fans. In fact, he’s not even the best/most effective player on his own team right now.

      He’s had a great, great career, but he’s no longer in the best player conversation, and arguing that point is like discussing science with someone who doesn’t believe in global warming.

      • That Ugly Kid

        “The are plenty of rational basketball-watching people who still frequently mention Kobe along with Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Derrick Rose (before injury), and Dwyane Wade as the top players in the league.”

        Fixed that up for you, bro.

      • Justmetheguy

        “There are no rational basketball-watching people who still feel that Kobe is one of the top four or five players in the league right now, let alone better than Lebron.”

        Exactly. He’s still all-star caliber but not top 5 caliber.

    • DA Fernandez

      Are you freaking kidding me? LeBron destroys Kobe in just about all aspects of basketball. You just seriously said old Kobe is better than prime LeBron! You do realize LeBron shot 53%, while Kobe shot a disgusting 43%? LeBron for his career averages more points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, FG% than Kobe. In terms of PER, LeBron is only second to Michael Jordan. Defensively Kobe can’t touch. LeBron is so much more versatile, he’s a great man defender, transition defender, and is already looking like one of the greatest help defenders. LeBron is MUCH better than and it isn’t even close. Kobe is great but LeBron is clearly on another planet. The fact that you said Kobe in his prime was better than Bird, Magic and Hakeem just shows your knowledge on the game. In his prime Bird was putting up 25+ points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists on great efficiency while playing great defense. Magic was putting up almost a triple double per game, and Hakeem was putting up 25+ points, 12 rebounds, 3.5+ assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks. A center getting 2 steals? That’s unheard of, if someone doesn’t know what the f*ck they’re talking about is you, hop off of Kobe, he’s overrated and is barely top 10 all time.