Kobe reigns over James as NBA king

By By Quinn Wilcox

By Quinn Wilcox

It has been the hot topic of the NBA the past couple of weeks8212;who deserves the MVP, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant? Dwayne Wade has been mentioned a few times here and there, and rightfully so. He’s a talented player, but everyone knows that it is really a two-man race.

Most national pundits have picked LeBron to be crowned as the league’s MVP. How can a guy who averages 28 points, seven boards and seven assists not be the MVP this year? Although LeBron is one of my favorite players to watch, I don’t think he’s taken the torch from Kobe as the league’s best player.

That’s probably not what everyone wants to hear. Kobe isn’t exactly the most popular player in the NBA, especially in Utah. Although his stats are slightly less impressive than LeBron’s this year, I still don’t believe that’s a reason to hand the MVP award to King James. He still has a few things to prove.

My first reason for why Kobe should get the award is that he is the best player on the best team. I know the Cavs have a better overall record than the Lakers, but they arrived at their record in a much weaker conference. Cleveland posted a regular season record of 66-16, while the Lakers entered the playoffs with a record of 65-17. A 65-17 record in the Western Conference is much more impressive than a 66-16 record in the East. Teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats were competing for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, for crying out loud. It might be a black-and-white way of looking at things, awarding the MVP to the best player on the best team, but it does hold some merit when it comes to choosing who is the most valuable player in the league.

Also factoring into the discussion should be head-to-head battles. When the two stars of the league faced off against each other, Kobe came out on top both times8212;and it wasn’t even close. The Lakers beat the Cavs this year by double digits in both games, including a 105-88 massacre at the Staples Center. It would be one thing if LeBron played up to his full potential and his teammates couldn’t hang with the talented Laker squad, but that was not the case. LeBron shot a combined 14-of-45 in his two games against Los Angeles8212;not the type of numbers you look for in a MVP. Kobe didn’t do much scoring in either game, averaging 19.5 points in the two contests, but it didn’t matter. His team won, and that’s what matters most. We wouldn’t be touting Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever if he hadn’t won those six titles. The best players show up for the big games and when the top two teams met this year, LeBron didn’t get the job done.

My final argument is a fairly simple one. If you had to pick one player to take the last shot with the game on the line, who would you pick? For me, it’s a no-brainer8212;I’d pick Kobe. His shot is more reliable than LeBron’s, but Kobe also strikes me as more of a clutch player. There have been many times when I’ve seen Kobe just will his team to victory. He gets that look in his eye and you know he isn’t going to lose. LeBron still has to show me that killer instinct before I put the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. That’s why Kobe is the MVP.

It’s a tough race this year. Both players have had their share of great moments. LeBron is still young and when he reaches his prime, I think he’ll surpass the best Kobe has to offer. But this is 2009 we’re talking about, and since we’re still in the “now,’ I’ll take No. 24 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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