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National Basketball Association - Kobe Bryant and Lebron James

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The two most prolific players in the National Basketball Association are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Their paths to success are similar but at the same time very different. Both were McDonald's All-Americans thought to be the best in their class; they skipped college and went straight to the pros: both are revered and loved by millions of fans. That's where the similarity stops. Kobe is technician crafty very skilled smooth operator unstoppable one on one. The most complete basketball player to ever play. LeBron is a freak of nature, big, strong, and super athlete. So athletically talented he is a rare combination of power and speed. The similarities and differences go on and on. Fans argue about who is better, with plenty of support on both sides. Examining high school awards, endorsements, NBA awards and popularity it's clear that Kobe holds a slight edge over LeBron.

Let's start with Kobe's high school achievements. Kobe Bryant was born In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended Lower Merion High school. His high school team had a 77-13 record including one State title in his senior season, the school's first title in 53 years. He scored 2,883 points in his high school career and is the Southeastern Pennsylvania's career point's leader surpassing the late great Wilt Chamberlin. Kobe played division one in Pennsylvania, while LeBron played division three in Ohio. Bryant received several awards in his senior year being named McDonald All-American, Naismith Player of the Year, USA Today All-USA First Team and Gatorade National Player of the Year. Kobe Bryant scored 1300 on his SAT and speaks multiple languages. He spent his childhood in Italy where his father played professionally after his NBA career ended. Soccer was Kobe's favorite sport; he desired to be a soccer player growing up. Kobe planned on attending Duke University until he decided to enter the NBA draft, becoming only the sixth player to jump from high school to the pros. At the time of the draft he had to get parental consent because he was only seventeen years old. To this day he is still the youngest player to ever play in an NBA game. He went to senior prom with R&B star Brandy Norwood.

LeBron basketball life started in Akron Ohio. He was named McDonald All-American, Naismith Player of the Year, USA Today All-USA First Team three times and Gatorade National Player of the Year. James was born in Akron, Ohio and attended St. Vicent-St.Mary High School. While there he was the three times Ohio's "Mr. Basketball", scored 2,657 points in his high school career, and lead them to three state titles. James also played football and was an All-State wide receiver. LeBron never really considered college as he always planned to go straight to the pros. If he had decided to go to college he would have chosen Ohio State University. He was raised by his mother Gloria James who was a single parent. LeBron appeared in Slam Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN the Magazine before he ever graduated from high school. His popularity forced his team to practice at the University of Akron. He was so popular NBA players like Shaquille O'Neal attended one of his high school games. Some of his High school games were shown on ESPN2 and regionally on pay-per-view channels.

With the trapping of success comes popularity and endorsements. Kobe Bryant has endorsed many products like Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Sprite, McDonalds, Upper Deck, Nutella, and Nintendo. He also did commercials for video games Guitar Hero, NBA 2K10, NBA Courtside, and Call of Duty: "Black Ops". His signature shoes are KB8 (adidas), Hyper dunk, Zoom Kobe Collection five different styles. He signed a deal with Nubro to market the "Black Mamba Collection" a line of sports luxury watches. In addition, he is the new global ambassador for Turkish Airlines.

Not to be overshadowed LeBron James endorses many products as well, Nike, Sprite, Glaceau, Bubblicious, Upper Deck, McDonalds and State Farm. He has six signature shoes LBJ23 and four others: 20-5-5, Soldier, Soldier 2, and Ambassador. He acted in a series of commercials called the LeBron's. LeBron and Kobe also have commercials they both starred in called MVPuppets. LeBron earns 18 Million a year in endorsements; Kobe earns 20 Million in endorsements not including NBA salaries or business ventures.

When comparing legends from different Era's the only comparison is statistics. Kobe Bryant is in the twilight of historic NBA career. He has been a five time NBA Champion, two time finals MVP, NBA Most Valuable Player (2008), thirteen time all-star and two NBA scoring champion. LeBron has no NBA championship to date. Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the thirteenth pick of the 1996 draft then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. The Lakers were an established veteran team Kobe didn't become a starter until midway through his third season. He was selected to his first all-star game in 1998 even though he wasn't a starter for the Lakers. Some will question, if Kobe is so great why doesn't he have more Most Valuable Player Awards? LeBron already has two MVP in eight seasons. Kobe shared the court with Shaquille O'Neal for seven years. During that span Los Angeles Lakers won three consecutive NBA titles. With Shaquille being one of the most dominate big men ever and Kobe being the most skilled shooting guard since Michael Jordan sacrifices had to be made. After seven seasons O'Neal was traded to Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers finally became Kobe's team. Kobe finally won the NBA MVP in 2007. Sports writers will say he should have won MVP 2005-2007, but allegations of sexual assault hurt his image. He has since rebuilt his image. In 2004 a lot of critics said he could not win a championship without O'Neal proving them wrong with NBA Championships in 2009, 2010, and trying for three-peat in 2011. Kobe has had his share of critics. Sportswriters call him a ball hog, selfish, and arrogant. His Career statistics speak volumes. He once scored 81 points in a game, scored over 60 points five times, twenty-four games over 50 points, and 104 times

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