Kobe Bryant vs Lebron James: Who is better, The Mamba or The King?

Kobe Bryant vs Lebron James: Who is better, The Mamba or The King?

Samuel Lisubila
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:14 PM

Since the NBA was established on 6th July 1946, it has been the most competitive basketball league in the world. With over 4,500 players to ever play in the league, rivalries among teams and players have endured, and some are incomparable. One rivalry that has stood the test of time is between two of the best Hall of Famers, Kobe, and Lebron. Read on to find out who is better, The Mamba or The King.

Kobe vs Lebron
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers defends LeBron James of the Miami Heat during the NBA game at Staples Center on 25 December 2010, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Victor Decolongon
Source: Getty Images

Kobe Bryant, also known as The Black Mamba, played 20 seasons as a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, leading the team to five championships. On the other hand, Lebron has been debated as the best player in the NBA, thanks to his prowess as an all-round player.

Profile summary

Full name

Kobe Bean Bryant

Lebron Raymone James




Date of birth

23 August 1978

30 December 1984


Died on 26 January 2020, aged 41

37 as of 2022

Place of birth

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S

Akron, Ohio, U.S







Height in feet

6 feet 6 inches

6 feet 9 inches

Height in centimetres



Weight in kilograms



Weight in pounds



Eye colour

Dark brown


Hair colour




Sharia and Shaya Bryant

Aaron McClelland Gamble (Half brother)

Marital status

Vanessa Bryant (married 2001 - 2020)

Savannah James (married in 2013)

Net worth

$600 million

$1.2 billion


Shooting guard

Small Forward




High school

Lower Merion High School

St. Vincent - St. Mary High School


1996: 1st round, 13th overall pick by Charlotte Hornets

2003: 1st round, 1st overall pick by Cleveland Cavaliers

Playing career

1996 - 2016

2003 - 2022 (present)

Jersey no.

8, 24

23, 6


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Player's Biography

The two players are some of the most successful NBA players. Kobe was one of the best players during his time, establishing himself as one of the game's all-time greats. On the other hand, Lebron James has made it to be the first active NBA player billionaire, while at the same time being arguably the best player in the league.

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Kobe Bryant

Kobe vs Lebron's trophies
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals at Staples Center on 23 April 2008, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images

Born on 23 August 1978, Kobe Bryant was the son of former NBA player Joe' Jellybean' Bryant. Named after a city in Japan, Kobe was born in Philadelphia and partly raised in Italy after his father retired from the NBA in 1984 and joined the Italian League.

Raised alongside athletic sisters, he was both good in basketball and soccer and joined the Lower Merion High School when they moved back to Philadelphia. With a mission to join the NBA, he was a lethal player, leading the team to state championships four years in a row. He started working out with the 76ers with an eye to joining the NBA.

Coming into the 1996 NBA draft, Bryant was the 13th overall pick selected by the Charlotte Hornets but was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

He won the slam dunk contest in his rookie year and earned a reputation as a high flyer. During his second season, he was remarkable and was named to the 1998 All-star game, becoming the youngest All-star at 19.

He went on to pair up with Shaquille O'Neal to form one of the most lethal teams in the NBA. Together, they won three consecutive NBA championships. Despite their feud and 'bad blood' that divided the basketball titans, Mamba ended up winning a total of 5 rings, two without Shaq.

After a successful career, Kobe retired at the end of the 2015/16 season when he confirmed to his fans on The Players' Tribune website. He said,

"My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye."

Unfortunately, on 26 January 2020, nine people, including Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas.

Lebron 'King' James

Kobe vs Lebron records
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks past Spurs defenders during first-half action at AT&T Center on 30 December 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Ronald Cortes
Source: Getty Images

As he refers to himself, 'the Kid from Akron' has proven to be an irreplaceable great in the basketball world. Born and raised in a single-parent household, he lived in Akron with his mother. They were a family faced with poverty and street violence, and basketball was about the only thing that came easy to him at his young age.

He played for St. Vincent - St. Mary High School and was a top prospect for the NBA. With the zeal and determination that he showed on and off the court, he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He won the 2004 Rookie of the year award, and with his amazing combination of skill, strength, leaping ability, and IQ, he established himself as one of the league's premier players.

Lebron consecutively won the NBA MVP awards in 2009 and 2010 while playing for the Cavaliers before joining the Miami Heat as a free agent. He won two championships with Miami before returning to Cleveland to deliver their first championship and ending the Cleveland sports curse. In 2018, James moved to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won the 2020 NBA Championship and earned his fourth finals MVP.

On 18 August 2022, James signed a two-year $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers. This made him the highest-paid athlete in the history of the NBA at $528.9 million, surpassing Kevin Durant in all-time earnings.

Kobe vs Lebron head to head

Kobe vs Lebron head to head
Lebron James (left) and Kobe Bryant (right). Photos: Michelle Farsi and Jed Jacobsohn. Photos edited by author
Source: Getty Images

Comparing the two greats, they both had amazing careers, winning multiple titles. It takes a lot to judge who is better, but one thing that is clear to all is their different play styles. Kobe Bryant's style was built on grace, intensity, and confidence, with an ability to take off-balance shots. Conversely, Lebron is versatile, able to play in all positions comfortably and aggressively and regarded as a tireless worker.

Kobe vs Lebron's records

Records in the NBA are hard to set and even harder to break. However, this doesn't seem to be the case for the Mamba or King James, as both make it seem easy with the multiple records they have set.

Kobe Bryant has records for most:

  • All-Star game MVP awards (tied with Bob Pettit)
  • Offensive rebounds in an All-Star game (10)
  • All-NBA team honours won by a guard (15)
  • All-NBA first-team honours won by a guard (11)
  • All-Defensive first-team honours

He was also the youngest player to:

  • Be named to the NBA All-Rookie team
  • Be named to the NBA All-Defensive First team
  • Win the NBA Slam Dunk Championship
  • Start, and score in an All-Star game
  • Score in a Playoff game
  • Win three championships
  • Appear in 1000 NBA games
  • Reach 33,000 points

Lebron James holds records for:

  • 1st to have 30,000 career points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists
  • Career turnovers (4,788)
  • Second most points made (37,062)
  • Second most field goals made (13,543)
  • 3rd most minutes played (52,139)

In NBA playoffs, Lebron comes 1st in:

  • Points made (7,631)
  • Field goals made (2,671)
  • Field goal attempts (5,502)
  • Field goals missed (2,777)
  • Free throws made (1,749)
  • Free throw attempts (2,364)
  • 3 point field goal attempts (1,283)
  • Steals (454)
  • Turnovers (975)
  • Minutes played (11,035)
  • Games played (266)

Who has more rings between Kobe and Lebron?

Who has more rings between Kobe and Lebron
Kobe Bryant (left) and Lebron James (right). Photos by Beck Diefenbach and Elsa. Photo edited by author
Source: Getty Images

Kobe Bryant, the all-time leading scorer for the Lakers, won 5 Championship trophies in the 20 seasons he was there. On the other hand, Lebron has won two rings for the Miami Heat and one each for the Cavaliers and Lakers as of 2022.

Kobe vs Lebron MVPs

Kobe only won the League MVP trophy in 2008. This may seem low for a player of his calibre, but he also won four All-Star MVP awards. Lebron James, however, has been named the regular season MVP four times, has four finals MVP awards, and three All-Star MVP awards.

Who is better between Kobe and Lebron?

Kobe Bryant won five NBA championships, while Lebron James has four. Looking at their style of play, Kobe Bryant as a shooting guard, is a better dribbler and scorer, with the fadeaway as his signature move. On the other hand, Lebron can play in all positions with an aggressive playing style, rebound the ball with the league's elite, and score from any point on the court.

Who is better between Kobe and Lebron
Kobe Bryant poses with his family at halftime after his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on 18 December 2017, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Maxx Wolfson
Source: Getty Images

Both players, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, have played in the modern era of basketball. While pundits and fans may find it hard to pick one as being better than the other in the Kobe vs Lebron debate, everyone has their favourite and are willing to have them in the GOAT debate. Kobe's influence is seen even after his death, as Lebron James continues to prove himself as the face of the NBA.

READ ALSO: Who is the father of basketball, James Naismith? All the facts and details

Sportsbrief.com recently published an article on the inventor of basketball, James Naismith. James, popularly regarded as the father of basketball, invented basketball in 1891.

He was the Springfield College instructor and graduate student who made the ballgame that has grown into the worldwide athletic phenomenon we know today. Click on the link above to learn more about the father of basketball!

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Samuel Lisubila
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