For decades, people have debated who the best player in NBA history is. Some claim it’s Bill Russell, some say it’s Michael Jordan. But most younger fans tend to lean towards either Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

James and Bryant dominated the past couple of decades and, even though we never had the chance to watch them against each other in the NBA Finals, both had strong arguments to be considered the GOAT of their generation.

That’s why it was kind of surprising to see Lakers legend Jerry West of all people say that LeBron James was a far superior player to Kobe Bryant during an interview in 2011, stating that he’d rather start a franchise with The King.

Lakers Legend Jerry West Chose LeBron James Over Kobe Bryant

“Well, to me, it’s a no-brainer, It’s LeBron James,” West said. “He plays like he’s the wildcard player. He plays four—he can play four positions if you ask him to do so. And his ability to get everyone involved in the game is just remarkable for someone his age. I also think that if you look at basketball today, it’s not always the big guys who win for you. It’s like, in the mid-inside guys. LeBron James is a big guy, I mean, he’s 6’8’’, 260, incredible skill… I don’t know if he’s the greatest athlete that I’ve ever seen play professional basketball.”

This comes as a bit of a surprise as West was the one who traded for Kobe back in 1996. Moreover, he was a mentor and a close friend of Kobe’s throughout his entire career in the Association.

At the end of the day, they didn’t even play in the same position so maybe there’s no point in comparing them. In reality, you couldn’t go wrong with any of them if you wanted to start a franchise.

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