The prospect of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James facing off on basketball’s biggest stage was something we heard nonstop throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s. It’s the rivalry that never was. Everyone was hoping for that seemingly inevitable NBA finals face off – companies like Nike even aired commercials that predicted it. One problem: Fellow superstars like Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant had other plans.
We witnessed the final matchup between these two league-defining icons on Thursday night, and it certainly did not disappoint. NBA fans hadn’t been so excited about a Kobe-LeBron matchup in quite some time; not just because it was the last, but due to the safe assumption that an aging, hobbled Mamba would put on a show.
But as ESPN.com put it, this wasn’t a battle of supremacy, but one more aligned with a character study. Kobe’s method is to attack, just like his namesake serpent. LeBron, on the other hand, wants to get everyone involved. Both legends took different paths that led to defining moments of greatness throughout their careers.