The Gr8 Deb8
Okay so this one’s getting out of hand with the media at the moment – lots of people taking sides and opinion split on who will land the MVP, and, perhaps more importantly who’s the better player.
Before this year Kobe was often selected at the games greatest talent but not the MVP. Why? It really came down to two factors; initially he was paired with Shaq and that was often the reason why he didn’t get the awards (certainly a finals MVP should have gone his way at least once). Secondly the Lakers flat out didn’t win enough games for the award to go his way. LeBron was really another of the ‘he could be the next big thing’ type players before last year’s playoffs. LeBron matured massively during the playoffs and raised his game, not to mention his team, higher than expectations – that confidence has carried through this year.
What’s the take – who’s the best Ed Guru? Is Kobe better than LeBron still or has the mathematically impossible taken place and 23 is now greater than 24? Alas no straight answer from me to that one. I can definitively say I’d take Kobe over LBJ right now if I wanted to win, but the usual excuse answers of they play different positions, only one plays consistent defence (again, after a year or twos break) but the other has better numbers, one plays in the East and one in the tougher West etc etc.
But to me this debate isn’t about who’s technically better, this is about who is going to be the popular choice. A recent SI poll had Kobe as the player most feared by other players well ahead of the competition – there’s good reason for it, his will to win is almost unparalleled in the NBA and he plays both ends of the floor with the same passion. So here’s my take: if this were about the entertainment industry it wouldn’t be which film is better, it wouldn’t even be about which format is better – it would simply be about which format is more popular: This is a format war.
If I were in the 80s (ah, those were the days) I’d say that LeBron was Betamax. You can argue his technical superiority by the numbers all you like, but the simple fact is more people bought VHS players – it had better support (hell, I’ll take Laker fans over Cavs any day!) and was recognised as the true winner despite any image problems it may have.
Of course we’re not in the 80s anymore so I’ll have to look at modern format wars. Kobe is a PS3 over LeBrons XBOX360. I hear people cry how much better the 360 is but Sony has something with PS that XBOX doesn’t – is it the playability of games, the better controller.. I’m not sure, but I’ll take the PS3 thanks very much rather than the PC Box.
Maybe in the age of high definition it’s Kobe’s BluRay over LBJ’s other HD thingey. Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away with format wars, but the truth is what separates Kobe from LeBron goes back to the poll from SI. He’s what players fear the most. But like all format wars this will be decided based upon success and success alone. I predict whoever sells more (gets more wins from here on in) at the end of the season will be the winner. I like the odds on Kobe, love him or hate him, you know you fear him if you’re for the other team.
Of course if Houston goes undefeated until the end of April..