Richard Jefferson has weighed in on the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James debate, claiming that ‘it’s really not even close.’ RJ joined ESPN’s The Jump to discuss Kobe’s recent comments on how important was for him to win a championship without Shaquille O’Neal by his side.
Talking on The Players Tribune’s “Knuckleheads” podcast, Kobe said:
“Here is the thing. I get chastised a lot for being selfish, saying we just got to fit into a team, it’s about winning championships,” said Bryant on the Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson & Darius Miles podcast. “I get it, I’m doing it, right? We won three straight. I got it. But I also knew that when my career’s over they’re going to chastise me for the same thing: ‘Oh well, you’re only great because you played with Shaq.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, hold up. You can’t have it both ways, bro?’ You know?
“So it was important for me and Shaq to go separate ways because I didn’t want people to use that against me — they still do — but it was important that I win championships without him.”
As to this, Jefferson replied saying Kobe was right, making it clear that Shaq was the ‘biggest force’ in that Lakers team that won three straight titles. Then, Jefferson discussed how Kobe’s accolades stand against LeBron James’, pointing out one big difference between the two stars.
“Kobe was great, one of the greatest of all time, but you can’t say ‘5 championships to Lebron’s 3’ – Lebron’s never been the second-best player on his team, ever in his career, and it’s really not even close. D-Wade was probably the best teammate he’s probably had.”
Jefferson has a good point there, as LeBron never actually had a teammate as dominant as prime Shaq. Even though he had good teammates in his championship runs, it’d be interesting to see how Kobe would have fared without O’Neal during that three-peat and how LeBron would have used the big man if they had shared touches.