Without a doubt, Bryant and Curry are two of the most iconic figures in NBA history. Bryant was a winner and a monster offensive player who managed to capture 5 rings and awe us with spectacular offensive performances.
Curry is one of the few players ever to actually change the game, and he has managed to do that by being the greatest shooter who ever lived. Everyone from the NBA and beyond is mimicking him, and have fallen in love with the three-point shot.
But who really is the better player? Do Kobe’s 5 rings and clutch performances outweigh Curry’s ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor? Or has Curry changed the game so much that he has surpassed The Mamba? Let’s find out.
Inside Scoring – Kobe Bryant
While Kobe is mostly known for his mid-range fadeaways and contested jumpers, he is an excellent post-up player. Kobe Bryant mimicked this aspect of his game from Michael Jordan and has used it as he got older to remain effective as one of the best scorers in the league.
Curry is very adept at getting to the rim and can finish with style and grace. But he is simply not on Kobe’s level, who is bigger and more proficient down low. The clear advantage here for Kobe.
Outside Scoring – Stephen Curry
Curry is the greatest shooter of all time, and this should count in his favor greatly when talking about outside scoring. While Kobe’s game is mostly predicated on his jump shooting,
Curry’s ability to release a quick shot and drain jumpers everywhere on the court is unprecedented. While this one is very close, thanks to Kobe’s proficiency from mid-range, Curry takes this one.
Playmaking – Stephen Curry
Curry is a point guard who loves to score, and it is no wonder why he has captured a scoring title and multiple MVPs. Bryant is one of the greatest scorers of all time who has mastered every way to put the ball in the basket.
Yet both of them are underrated playmakers. Curry is a very good playmaker, especially in the pick n roll, while Bryant excels at passing out of a double team. Both players average around or above 5 assists per game for their careers, but Curry is a better playmaker thanks to his desire to pass like a point guard.
Athleticism – Kobe Bryant
Curry has never been a tremendous athlete even though he has good size for a point guard. He replies more on his talent and skillful shooting and dribbling to be impactful.
Bryant, on the other hand, was an amazing athlete in his younger days. Afro Kobe was a phenomenal dunker and was always among the best athletes in the game. He was also bigger and stronger than Curry, who has a slight frame.
Clear advantage for Kobe Bryant.
Defense – Kobe Bryant
Curry has never been much of a defender, and he is often placed on the opposing team’s worst offensive player to avoid getting exposed.
Bryant is a multiple-time All-NBA Defensive Team performer and has incredible tenacity on that end of the floor. In his prime, he could lock up many of the games great scorers and just simply wanted it more on that end.
Another clear one for Kobe.
Rim Protection – Kobe Bryant
Due to Curry’s miniature frame, he does not offer much in terms of rim protection. He is still relatively decent thanks to his height but is not a factor in this regard.
Kobe was never a brute player and often relied on his ability to slither his way in games and use his tremendous skill. But Bryant was just larger, stronger, and a better overall defender than Curry. Advantage Kobe Bryant.
Rebounds – Kobe Bryant
Curry is actually a good rebounder for his position, and mainly relies on his basketball i.q. and height to grab rebounds. Similarly, Bryant uses his understanding of the game to position himself to get rebounds especially when he puts his mind to it. Especially when it counts most, Bryant will put himself in a position to grab rebounds when necessary.
Bryant averaged 5.2 rebounds per game for his career compared to 4.5 to Curry, so the advantage goes to Bryant here.
Clutch – Kobe Bryant
If there is a knock on Stephen Curry, it is his lack of performing in clutch moments when his team needed him most. Curry would be so dominant over a course of a game, that many felt he would take over in the clutch. Curry has simply had moments when he did not show up, especially in big games where he makes the wrong plays. While it is incorrect to say he is not clutch, he simply is not as clutch as Kobe Bryant.
Bryant is one of the most clutch players in NBA history and has hit more game-winning shots than anybody in history. While his shooting percentage might not show it, Kobe often made the winning plays on both ends of the floor when it mattered most. More importantly, Bryant always believed he could take and make the biggest shots every single time. Advantage Bryant.
Leadership – Kobe Bryant
Curry is a very likable person and leads by example on the court. He works extremely hard to perfect his craft, and never takes plays off. His desire to be one of the best point guards ever surely rubs off on his teammates.
But Kobe was an alpha dog for his entire career. He led by example, but also by putting his teammates under fire. If they did not have the same passion for the game like he did, he made sure he let them know. This is a reason why he is a 5-time champion and a player who is respected by all NBA players.
While many labeled him selfish, Bryant simply wanted to win more than everyone else. He often did not get along with his teammates, but when the players bought in they won championships.
Basketball I.Q. – Kobe Bryant
Anybody who can shoot, pass and score like Curry clearly has a very high basketball I.Q. His understanding of the game and desire to be the best point guard in the league stems from his deep understanding of the game rooted by his parents, including Dell Curry was a sharpshooter in the NBA.
But Kobe is a master at the game. He is a player without any real weaknesses and just knows how to dominate a game while winning rings. Kobe was one of the very few players in NBA history, where he would completely take over the pace of the game. People across the world came to see Bryant in action, and he always delivered. His I.Q. was simply off the charts. Advantage Kobe Bryant.
Scoring – Kobe Bryant
Both players are masters at scoring the ball and tend to do so in different ways. Curry has hacked the art of shooting, which makes it easier for him to get 20 points in a quarter very easily. All he needs is a little bit of space and he gets his shots off. Curry is simply too much to handle at times and can shoot his team to victory. But he is greatly assisted by the NBA’s intolerance to aggressive defense, which frees him up tremendously.
Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, has mastered scoring in many areas. Even in the face of the difficult defense, Bryant could seemingly score at will. And Bryant has an ability to get hotter than anyone in history, as shown by his legendary 81 point performance which will likely never be replicated.
Bryant’s overall offensive game might be the best ever, and he takes this one over Curry.
Impact – Kobe Bryant
Another one for Kobe Bryant, thanks to his overall game especially on defense. Bryant can drop 30 points in his sleep and guard the opposing team’s best player. He impacts the game mainly through his scoring and his pace of play. Whenever Kobe had the ball, the game played out exactly as he dictated it.
He was so proficient at scoring the basketball that he would be faced with constant double and triple teams every night. Even when the Los Angeles Lakers managed to put a crew behind Kobe, he was often the team’s scoring source.
Curry has impacted the game in a tremendous way, especially since he managed to change today’s NBA game. His shooting proficiency is the best ever, and he has seemingly paved a new direction for NBA players in the future. Curry broke the stigma that the best players need extraordinary physical gifts, and that skill and talent paired with hard work is all that’s needed.
But Kobe was just more impactful when considering versatility on both sides of the floor.
1 on 1 Game – Kobe Bryant
Curry is a nightmare to defend one on one, thanks to his quick dribble maneuvers that allow him to create space. Not to mention, he is the greatest shooter ever. Curry can get a shot off whenever he wants which greatly favors him on offense. On defense, Curry is a liability who has trouble defending some of the faster, stronger, or even more skilled guards.
Kobe Bryant might be the greatest one on one player ever, and many players in the NBA claim that he is yet to be defeated. Whether that is true or not is beside the point, as Kobe Bryant has a perfect offensive skill set that includes sharp moves and counter moves that will leave defenders in the dust. Once Kobe gets you with his pump fake, it is easy pickings.
Even though Curry is very formidable as an offensive player, Kobe Bryant takes this one.