On Thursday evening the two will square off for a 22nd and final time as Bryant’s retirement tour is rapidly coming to an end.
Ever since James entered the league, the two have been pitted against each other in conversations about who was actually the better player. The debate even expanded into a Nike campaign using puppets.
As amusing as their perceived rivalry has been, their actual on-court head-to-head encounters have been even more entertaining with both men playing very well against the other.
Don’t believe me? Check the stats:
Statistics compiled by Sportsnet Stats.
As the table above shows James has gotten the better of Bryant for the most part, but as far as individual performance has gone the two have had similar results. Bryant has put up 30 points or more in seven games while James has done it eight games.
Looking at the pair’s careers overall, the amount of accolades they’ve amassed is immense. Between them they have seven NBA titles, five MVPs, four Finals MVPs and 30 all-star appearances.
It’s disappointing that the dream Finals between them ultimately never came to fruition, but such is the way sports are.