When it comes to head-to-head matchups, LeBron James has dominated Kobe Bryant throughout their brilliant careers.
The two future Hall of Famers have faced each other 19 times over the years, and King James has clearly won these matchups between superstars.
Wins – LeBron 13 vs. Kobe 6
In the immortal words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game! Hello! You play to win the game!” My apologies for using a football reference to settle a basketball score, but Herm’s point is spot on.
In the head-to-head battles between Kobe and LeBron, it is LeBron who is winning, posting a 13-6 record against Bryant and the Lakers. LeBron has won over 68% of his games against Kobe.
That’s the ultimate trump card.
Scoring – LeBron 27.9 PPG (46.1% FG) vs. Kobe 25.3 PPG (41.9% FG)
The scoring between James and Bryant when going head-to-head is right in line with their career averages.
LeBron has put up 27.9 points when playing against Kobe versus a career 27.5 average. Kobe has been equally consistent, scoring 25.3 points when facing LeBron versus a career 25.5 average.
While their scoring has been consistent, their field goal percentage goes down considerably when facing each other.
LeBron’s career field goal percentage is a healthy 49.7%, but it drops to 46.1% (-3.6%) when facing Kobe and the Lakers.
Kobe, on the other hand, has shot 45.4% from the field in his career, but just 41.9% (-3.5%) when taking the court against LeBron.
Perhaps both Bryant and James put too much pressure on themselves when squaring off. Most of their games are nationally televised and marquee NBA events. In their desire to prove who the alpha male is they both appear to press a bit on offense, noticeably lowering their field goal percentages.
Assists – LeBron 7.3 APG vs. Kobe 4.9 APG
Both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are used to having the ball in their hands.
Kobe’s usage percentage of 31.8 is fourth highest in NBA history. LeBron’s usage percentage of 31.6 is nearly identical to Kobe’s and is sixth highest in NBA history.
But LeBron has turned those opportunities into 6.9 assists per game throughout his career, and 7.3 assists when facing Kobe.
Kobe, meanwhile, averages 4.8 assists per game in his career, and 4.9 against LeBron. Not bad for a shooting guard, but nowhere near James’ totals.
Rebounds – LeBron 7.3 RPG vs. Kobe 4.9 RPG
No surprise here as the 6’8″ James pulls down 7.3 rebounds as a forward to Kobe’s 4.9 rebounds from the two guard position.
No matter how the head-to-head matchup between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant gets looked at – wins, scoring, assists, rebounds – King James comes out on top.
Kobe only has so many miles left on his tires. He is going to need to be at his best the next time he faces LeBron.
Because right now, LeBron James is dominating Kobe Bryant.