Kobe Bryant has been retired for just over two months now, after the exclamation point he added to his career with his 60-point performance on April 13. Despite not playing in a basketball game for two months, Kobe is still relevant in the basketball world during the NBA Finals.
Most of the conversation about Kobe going on is about how he possessed the killer instinct on the court that many basketball fans do not see in LeBron James, who once claimed that he was the best player in the world. James has been criticized for “breaking the code” of his peers after he informed the media of the trash talk that occurred between himself and Draymond Green during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron was clearly rattled by Green in Game 4, and his killer instinct was in question, leading many fans to draw the comparison to Kobe’s attitude. Jason Terry of the Houston Rockets recently made an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s show “The Runway” and made a comparison between Kobe and LeBron:
“You don’t say anything to Kobe. I mean, no, not at all. You don’t talk to him. Because if you get Kobe going, it’s going to be a long night. I was on that same team that Kobe gave us [62 points] in three quarters, so Kobe’s off limits. We really ain’t saying much to Kob’.”
Kobe was notorious for being able to back up his trash talk with his play, and Terry was well aware of this. Terry went on to criticize LeBron’s toughness:
“Now LeBron, on the other hand, he gets rattled and that’s why Draymond did what he did and said what he said. Because obviously it gets under his skin. He does not like it.”
LeBron’s greatness on the basketball court should never be questioned, but he is clearly not cut from the same fabric as Kobe and his legendary predecessors like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. Kobe will always be relevant in basketball conversations, similarly to how people still talk about Jordan nearly 20 years after his retirement.