Kobe Bryant and LeBron James squared off for the final time as the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-108.
Though they never met in the playoffs or NBA Finals, many always look at Kobe versus LeBron as a big rivalry as both are considered to be two of the greatest players in NBA history.
Despite the constant arguments over which of the two is better, Lakers head coach Byron Scott doesn’t consider it to be a rivalry according to Ryan Ward of Examiner:
Byron on Kobe vs LeBron: “I don’t know if it is a rivalry. If it is, it’s a friendly rivalry.”
— Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner) March 11, 2016
Scott’s mindset isn’t necessarily wrong. Most of the biggest rivalries in NBA and sports history are usually forged in the postseason. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is widely considered to be the most fierce rivalry in NBA history and it was forged through three meetings in the NBA Finals in the 1980s as well as two more in the 2000s.
While it may not be considered a rivalry in the traditional sense, the debates about which player is better between Kobe and LeBron will continue to wage on for years. LeBron has the edge in individual accolades as a four-time regular season MVP, but Kobe’s five championship rings compared to LeBron’s two gives him an advantage in many eyes as well.
James won the final meeting and holds a huge advantage when it comes to wins and losses in head-to-head meetings. Even in the loss, Kobe went down with a fight and actually outscored Lebron 26 to 24 in the final battle.