Two of the most popular players ever are Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry. Kobe Bryant is the man who has drawn the most comparisons to the greatest player of all time in Michael Jordan and is a shooting guard that generates respect from his peers and NBA fans around the world. A 5-time NBA champion and one of the greatest scorers ever, Kobe Bryant accomplished everything in the game of basketball on an individual and team level.
But even when looking at pure skill set, very few players, if any, had Kobe’s ability to perfect multiple facets of the game. Not to mention, no player has made as many game-winners as Bryant, as evidenced by his collection of clutch shots. Other than probably Magic Johnson, Bryant is known to be Mr. Laker because he had the most accomplishments for the iconic Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter of all time and is the man responsible for how the modern NBA game is played today. Of course, Stephen Curry has finally added the coveted Finals MVP award to his resume which also includes 4 NBA titles, 2 MVPs, and the all-time 3-point record. The legendary point guard has been the cornerstone of the Golden State Warriors dynasty that has lasted multiple seasons over the last decade.
Stephen Curry is also one of the most popular players of all time, because his humble demeanor off the court and willingness to take a backseat to welcome in other All-Star players attracted a host of fans, much of which are from the younger audiences that are driving the social media world. A point guard who simply wants to win and has the most deadly three-point shot ever, Stephen Curry is truly an all-time great player regardless of position.
That is why it could be interesting to compare both players in terms of their statistical achievements. Specifically, it is time to uncover their career highs in major statistical categories to get an indication of which player was able to accumulate stats better than the other. While many will claim that Stephen Curry is the best shooter ever, does he have an edge over the great Kobe Bryant in terms of the most important career-high statistical categories? It is time to find out.
Kobe Bryant: 81 Points (Lakers vs. Raptors, January 22, 2006)
Stephen Curry: 62 Points (Warriors vs. Trail Blazers, January 03, 2021)
The second-highest scoring performance in NBA history belongs to Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points on January 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors. In this regular-season game, Kobe somehow found his range, going off in every part of the floor to shoot 28-46 from the field, including 7-13 from three and 18-20 from the free-throw line.
At the time, the Los Angeles Lakers were a bad club, so they needed Bryant's scoring to keep the game close. The only player to score more points in a single game than the Black Mamba was Wilt Chamberlain (100). Obviously, Bryant has an edge over the career-high in the scoring category.
The 2020–21 season was when Stephen Curry scored the most points of his career while playing for the Golden State Warriors. The All-Star point guard destroyed the Trail Blazers' defense by making 18 of 31 field goal attempts, including 8 of 16 three-point attempts and 18 of 19 free throws.
It is evident that Curry will easily score over 50 points whenever a shooter of his ability makes 8 three-pointers, especially in the NBA of today. Steph's offensive avalanche helped the Warriors win 137-122. Although Steph has participated in 10 games with at least 50 points, his 62-point outburst must rank among the best games the offensive star has ever had.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant: 16 Rebounds (Lakers vs. Raptors, January 24, 2010)
Stephen Curry: 14 Rebounds (Warriors vs. Kings, December 28, 2015)
On January 24, 2010, Kobe Bryant once again puts on a career-best display against the Toronto Raptors. But this time, it manifests itself in terms of rebounding the basketball. The gifted shooting guard set a career best for rebounds in a regular-season matchup (16 rebounds) against another team that sadly resulted in a one-point loss. Despite the Raptors' 106-105 victory, Bryant had the most rebounds of any player. Bryant was always capable of routinely grabbing the ball off the rim because he averaged 5.2 RPG over the course of his career, and had his best season in 2003 when he averaged 6.9 RPG.
Given that he is a 6'3" point guard, Stephen Curry is seen as a “little man”, although that may not be the case. The point guard recorded a career-high 14-rebound effort against the Sacramento Kings on December 28, 2015. In reality, Stephen Curry is considered a very good rebounder for his height and position. His career average of 4.6 RPG is nothing to sniff at, and his best season came in 2021 when he averaged 5.5 RPG. Without a doubt, Steph is a point player who can rebound the ball very well.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant: 17 Assists (Lakers vs. Cavaliers, January 15, 2015)
Stephen Curry: 16 Assists (Warriors vs. Suns, December 27, 2013), (Warriors vs. Jazz, April 06, 2014)
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest scorers ever, and he built his entire image on being a gunner without a care in the world in terms of how many shots one player could take. Everybody on the Lakers knew Kobe was the man on offense, and so did everyone else on the court and in the stadium at any time. But Bryant is an underrated passer, holding a career average of 4.7 APG with his best season coming in 2014 when he averaged 6.3 APG.
His career-high performance came in 2015 when the shooting guard managed an incredible 17 assists, which even usurps that of Stephen Curry’s career-high.
In 2013 and 2014, Stephen Curry piled up 16 assists in spectacular fashion, recording career-high performances in terms of creating shots for his teammates. Curry is regarded as a player that prioritizes scoring but is nonetheless renowned for his above-average passing skills.
When a player of Curry's quality, who prioritizes scoring, feeds his teammates in that manner, a victory is typically ensured, and that is exactly what happened in the routs of the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. Curry's career average sits at 6.5 APG, and his career-high came in 2014 when he averaged 8.5 APG.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant: 7 Steals (Lakers vs. Jazz, February 13, 2006)
Stephen Curry: 7 Steals (Warriors vs. Timberwolves, April 07, 2010), (Warriors vs. Clippers, December 07, 2016)
In a game against the Utah Jazz in 2006, Kobe Bryant managed an incredible 7 steals in addition to his 23 points. His career-high in steals overtook the entire Jazz team, and the Lakers won the game quite handily (94-88). With 12 All-Defensive Team selections, the shooting guard is an excellent defender who obviously knew how to get even with the opponent for their bad handles and inability to produce quality plays. Bryant was a hound for stealing the ball, whether he was playing the passing lanes or snatching it up in one-on-one situations.
Stephen Curry does not have a single All-Defensive Team selection, but he still managed career-highs in steals in two different games over his career. The first came in 2010 when he managed 7 steals against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The last time Curry did that was in 2016 when he managed 7 steals against the Los Angeles Clippers, once again proving he could play passing lanes effectively. The point guard has a career average of 1.7 SPG which could possibly dispute the image of him being a subpar defender and defensive liability.
Kobe Bryant: 5 Blocks (Lakers vs. Grizzlies, December 11, 1999), (Lakers vs. 76ers, February 20, 2000), (Lakers vs. Hornets, February 02, 2001)
Stephen Curry: 2 Blocks (25 times)
Three times, from the 1999 season through the 2001 campaign, Kobe Bryant was successful in stopping five shots in a single game. Kobe's career-high in blocks occurred when the shooting guard was younger, which is not surprising given his exceptional agility and quick hops. A younger Bryant was able to leap off his feet with great ease, which is how he blocked an amazing five shots in one game. Bryant has a career average of 0.5 BPG, with 1999 being his finest year in that regard with 1.0 BPG. Bryant wasn't known for being a shot blocker, but when he was focused, he had a defensive instinct to get to shots.
Stephen Curry, at only 6’3”, was never required to be a shot-blocker at any point of his career. Quite frankly, no point guard has ever been blessed with natural shot-blocking ability, which is why Curry never had more than 2 blocks in a single game over his career. He did accomplish this feat 25 times, so he could extend his arms when challenging shots when necessary. Over his career, Steph has a career average of 0.2 BPG. But in terms of career-high in blocks, Kobe has a massive advantage.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant: 12 3-Pointers Made (Lakers vs. SuperSonics, January 07, 2003)
Stephen Curry: 13 3-Pointers Made (Warriors vs. Pelicans, November 07, 2016)
Kobe Bryant, who is not a natural shooter from beyond the arc, made 12 three-pointers against the Seattle SuperSonics in 2003. Bryant had a tremendous offensive performance, scoring 45 points on 12-18 attempts from three-point range.
Even though Kobe had a career three-point percentage of 32.9%, he could get hot from anywhere on the perimeter, making his shots and disheartening the opposition. It goes without saying that the Lakers triumphed 119-98.
On November 7, 2016, while playing for the Golden State Warriors against the New Orleans Pelicans, Stephen Curry hit a career-high 13 three-pointers. Curry's ranking as the second-most threes made in a single game in history is not surprising; teammate Klay Thompson currently holds the record with 14 made threes.
Curry will always have a shooting advantage over other players because he is the best shooter in history. Steph's career average for makes from deep is 3.8. Of course, when it comes to three-point shooting, Curry always has an advantage over other players.
Advantage: Stephen Curry
Field Goals Made
Kobe Bryant: 28 Field-Goals Made (Lakers vs. Raptors, January 22, 2006)
Stephen Curry: 20 Field-Goals Made (Warriors vs. Magic, February 25, 2016)
In the illustrious effort against the Toronto Raptors in the 2006 season, Kobe Bryant made a career-high 28 field goals. Because he played with rage and aggression that we had never seen before, the Black Mamba took over the game singlehandedly. The shooting guard made 28 of 46 field goals, including 7 of 13 three-point attempts and 18 of 20 free throws. It was evident from watching Kobe play that he had no remorse about taking nearly 50 shots during the game, and he led the Lakers to an incredible 122-104 comeback victory with 28 shots made.
Stephen Curry’s career-high in field goals made came during a 51-point outing over the Orlando Magic. Steph made 20 of his 27 shots from the field, including 10-15 from beyond the arc. Making 10 three-pointers is undoubtedly an incredible feat, but Step makes it seem so simple. The point guard had a magnificent effort, leading the Warriors to a 130-114 victory while also contributing 7 rebounds and 8 assists. But Curry did not make as many shots as Bryant did during his 81-point performance.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Free Throws Made
Kobe Bryant: 23 Free-Throws Made (Lakers vs. Cavaliers, January 30, 2001), (Lakers vs. Knicks, January 31, 2006)
Stephen Curry: 18 Free-Trows Made (Warriors vs. Trail Blazers, January 03, 2021)
In addition to being a fantastic mid-range shooter, Kobe Bryant was also skilled at attacking the hoop to draw fouls. Bryant, an explosive athlete in his prime, had trouble getting past his opponents and was frequently hacked to prevent him from converting a layup or dunk. Naturally, Bryant was also skilled at pump-faking and getting called for fouls on his jump shots. In two different games, the first taking place in 2001 and the last in 2006, Bryant made 23 free throws in a row. In those contests, Bryant tallied 47 and 40 points, respectively.
Stephen Curry is regarded as the greatest free-throw shooter in NBA history, holding an average of 90.8% from the stripe. The point guard made his career-high 18 foul shots in January 2021 against the Portland Trail Blazers, on 19 attempts. Unsurprisingly, Curry scored his career-high 62 points and led all scorers in the game. Not to mention, Curry guided the Golden State Warriors to a victory as the game was won 137-122. But once again, Steph does not have the edge in a career-high statistical category.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant: 11 Turnovers (Lakers vs. Pistons, January 31, 2008)
Stephen Curry: 11 Turnovers (Warriors vs. Clippers, October 31, 2013)
Due to his high usage, frequent ball handling, and need to generate offense for his team, Kobe Bryant averaged 3.0 turnovers per game over the course of his career. Bryant was forced to cope with aggressive opponents since he was frequently double-teamed during his career. As a result, many of his passes were incomplete. Additionally, despite the shooting guard's 39 points, Bryant managed an absurd 11 turnovers in a game against the Pistons in 2008. This badly impacted the game, in which the Lakers lost 90-89.
In terms of the defensive attention he has caused during his career, Stephen Curry is comparable to other all-time great offensive players with high usage rates, which is why he averages 3.1 turnovers per game. Curry faced the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013 and committed a career-high 11 turnovers in a single game. As predicted, the Clippers were able to put Steph in awkward situations and profit from them to win 126-115 thanks to an outstanding performance by their defense. Curry's 11 turnovers, however, matched Kobe Bryant’s personal career high.
Kobe Bryant Had Greater Stats And Is A Greater Player Than Stephen Curry
No doubt about it, when looking at the career-high statistics, it can be deduced that Kobe Bryant is a greater talent than Stephen Curry because of his tremendous all-around ability. It is no secret that Curry loves shooting the three-point shot, and he has done it better than anyone we have ever seen. A shoot-first point guard with elite scoring ability, Curry managed to break a ton of shooting records over his illustrious career. It truly takes a special kind of player and mentality to be able to score the ball as efficiently as Curry has over his illustrious career.
But he is not on the level of Kobe Bryant, a shooting guard who was more athletic and more well-versed in multiple facets of the game. When it comes to other areas of the court, including rebounding and defense, Bryant has a big advantage. Bryant is a taller and more athletic player, so it is no surprise he has the edge over Curry in career-high rebounds and blocks. Kobe is also the better all-around scorer, which is why he has an edge in career-high points, field goals made, and free throws made.
Overall, when it comes to all-around ability on the court, Kobe usurps what Curry did over his career. As a taller player who could do more things on the floor, Kobe has the edge in areas where his size could be imposed on the court. Curry has the edge when the modern era comes into play, in terms of 3-pointers made where he ranks 2nd all-time behind Klay Thompson. It can be deduced that Curry is a greater marksman than Bryant but was not a greater all-around talent. In terms of which player had more success in their career, it can also be strongly argued that Bryant has the edge. He won 5 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, and also had a greater number of career-high numbers compared to Stephen Curry. Adding in 18 All-Star appearances and 15 All-NBA selections, it is hard to compare most players’ resumes to the great Kobe Bryant.