Richard Jefferson on LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant Debate: ‘It’s Really Not Even Close’

Jonathan Sherman
2 Min Read

Though Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is no longer in the NBA, the debate of whether he or current Lakers star LeBron James is the better player rages on.

In a recent episode of ESPN’s “The Jump,” James’ former teammate Richard Jefferson explained why he believes James sits higher on the rung of best NBA players ever.

“Hey look Kobe was great,” Jefferson began. “One of the great all time but you can’t say five championships to LeBron’s three. LeBron’s never been the second-best player on his team ever in his career. It’s really not even close.”

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to the Bryant-James debate. Bryant has five rings and James has just three. Still, most James fans would argue that Bryant had far better supporting casts compared to those of James.

In his statement, Jefferson was of course referencing Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal when he claimed that Bryant was not the best player on three out of his five championship teams.

From a statistical standpoint, James seems to have the upper hand. The four-time MVP has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game throughout his career.

Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game throughout his career.

All all NBA fans know, however, it’s about more than just stats.

If Lakers fans get their way, James will have four rings by the end of the 2019-20 season.

Though, with the addition of superstar big man Anthony Davis, an argument could be made that James himself is no longer the best player on his own team.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.