The great Jerry West had this to say about “the great debate.” Thoughts?

Reuters: LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, surpassing veteran Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, 14-times All-Star guard Jerry West said Monday.

West, a shrewd judge of talent who brought Bryant to the Lakers when he was their general manager, said the Cleveland forward could become the league’s next Michael Jordan.

“I look at Cleveland say to myself, ‘How many games could they win without LeBron James?’ West told Reuters in an interview. “That’s how great he is.

“He has a chance to be arguably the greatest player ever to play the game.”

West, the NBA’s executive of the year with the Lakers in 1995 and the Memphis Grizzlies in 2004, said playing both ends of the floor was what made Jordan so great.

“Michael Jordan was the best defensive player in the league but he was also the best offensive player,” said West. “It wasn’t a one-year fluke, he proved it over time.

“LeBron James will do the same type of things because he’s getting better. He’s a much more effective shooter. When’s he’s making his shots from the outside, you can’t play him.

“He’s just too big, too strong, too quick. And he has incredible body control. But more than that, he’s a great team mate. You can see his team mates love him.”

Continue reading: ‘Jerry West: LeBron surpasses Kobe as the top player’

  • http://lakers.com k0be da 1 andonly

    poor jerry west is losing his mind already=(
    his age ar given a toll on him mind
    GET BETTER JERRY!!!

  • Vibe

    Okaaaaaay…….like it really matters…
    But I still love and respect west.

  • kobe8

    i’m not so sure about that. until lebron can hit jumpers, play consistent defence and SHOW UP in crunch time of big games, he ain’t got the crown yet.

  • cg75

    while he maybe right, i think Kobe’s idol just challenged Kobe to prove him wrong.

  • matthew

    how many titles has lebron james won? none. and no way he can win threee straight titles

  • LAKERMIKE247

    GET WELL SOON JERRY WEST

  • gugy

    who cares who’s best.
    Seriously, I rather Kobe win a championship now than all the bs talk.

  • http://getgarnett.com golakers75

    Jerry has been a kobe guy from the start. but the truth of the matters Jerry is right on. kobe has seemed to lost a step or two and LBJ can hit a jump shot. if Lebron was on the lakers the lakers would have won 70 games and would be 16-0 in the playoffs give the man his due he is the best…

  • David

    [Comment ID #71900 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I agree with you 100% go Lakers.

    Most of you guys are so biased towards Kobe. Lebron is better than Kobe…period. He’s a better passer, rebounder, defender, scorer, and makes his teammates better than Kobe does. Kobe is a better jump shooter and clutch performer than Lebron, but in every other aspect Lebron surpasses Kobe. Even the logo says it and he drafted Kobe. [Comment ID #71900 Will Be Quoted Here]

  • Go Time

    West is entitled to his opinion but if KB wins ANOTHER title this year beating the Cavs and LB would he still feel the same?!!

  • lainok

    it doesn’t really matter. sooner or later someone comes along that will take the crown from the other. kobe took it from jordan ( the only reason some people won’t admit kobe is better than jordan, is because they don’t like him personally, but it’s not about his attitude or his life outside of basketball, it’s about what he does on the court), and furthermore, lebron hasn’t yet in my opinion, but is a few years away from taking it from kobe. The reason lebron is already getting the benefit of the doubt is because he is such a likable guy on top of what he does on the court. People just love to hate Kobe, it’s always been that way, and always will be. But once lebrons career is over he will be number one all time in almost every catagory. But somewhere around his 12th season, there will be a guy that is burning up the league, and the talk of who is the best will resume, and he will start being treated the way kobe is being treated now.

  • Jay D

    Jordan is still the best, I’m a Kobe/Laker fan but neither LBJ or 24 have even come close to taking any crown from Michael…. go watch some film on Jordan to get some perspective back.

  • lakers2009champions

    well right now yeah i have no problem with it lebron>>>kb

  • willow

    Wow! How some people have feeble minds! I remember like it was yesterday KB was tearing up the league and that no one even came close to being as good, if not, better than Mike was. How times have changed that people are so quick to push KB out the door and welcome in the “New Jordan”. I can see why everyone likes LBJ but he hasn’t proven anything yet. Most players are measured by how many rings they have. I’ll just bite my tongue and praise the “Next MJ” when The Black Mamba is officially retired. Long live the Closer!!!

  • lakerschamps-09

    hahha i love the picture hhha… but west can say watever he likes he has earned that rite..

  • Redline

    LeBron is better than Kobe. No question. Anyone that suggests otherwise now is just in denial. LeBrons the best and he has the potential to be the best ever if he wins the rings. At the end of the day, both LeBron and Jordan will be considered better than Kobe, though which of the two will be the GOAT only time will tell.

  • Lake_Showtime

    Whateva

  • thabloody5th

    I agree with redline

  • LakersFirst

    I have to agree with West not only has Lebron better at basketball he is also a sexier man. Trade kobe for Mr. Sexy now…

  • ricky

    I am a big Kobe and Lakers fan. For some odd reason, people just love to hate Kobe and ever since LeBron got drafted, he has been the media’s favorite. It matters not, however, because no matter how good and how well liked LeBron is, there is always something about Kobe that everyone is attracted to. There is always something with Kobe that make him a favorite in the hearts of fans regardless, he’s like a magnet. Whether it be his ruthless killer instinct, his work ethic, his perfectly honed skills, arrogance, etc.. He just has this aura about him..to me he’s like the anti-hero. hate him or love him, you just have to give him the respect he deserves as a player!

  • ilikebasketball

    [Comment ID #71905 Will Be Quoted Here]

    completely agree.
    and as a through-the-ages laker fan(not just a kobe fan), it’s fine if kobe loses his “#1 in the world title” if we win a championship.

    as an addendum, though, i do think it’s strange to speak of lebron james as better than kobe(or as an all-time great), and possibly even better than michael jordan when lebron’s team is 2-6 versus the other top 3 teams in the league in regular season. that to me is what shuts down the argument.
    when he wins in big games then the talk about his all time greatness can begin.

  • nick

    I think Lebron is still getting better and kobe is in his prime. That said its a coin toss to who is better. but, I would pick kobe. On the other hand jordan to me is the best compared to these three players. I think Jordan had a great all around game with NO FLAWS. and in his prime, he eats lebron for breakfast and kobe-steak for dinner.

    1.Jordan
    2.Kobe with a slight edge
    3.Lebron and getting better every year. Still needs to improve his shot.

  • osm0nd

    The days of us arguing to people that we have the best player in the NBA is over guys! It’s okay because we have the BEST TEAM in the NBA! We’ll be saying that for the next 3-4 years at the least.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525479878 Geloman

    Who cares who the best is? What matters is the ring.

    Kobe however is clutch, a great FT shooter and scorer and plays like a man possessed. When he goes out on the court he just want to kill everybody. His work ethic is unmatched. That’s what makes him the greatest.

  • ab4sure

    The Greatest Laker has Spoken. The Verdict is in. No more debate.

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #71896 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I agree with you. He probably can never do that. Then again he probably will never have a player like Shaq in his prime.

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #71932 Will Be Quoted Here]

    And Lebron does go on to win NBA titles, he will have a very good argument for being one of the best ever.

  • T-Dub

    You guys all know that Lebron is WAY better than Kobe. Lebron plays like a champion, night in and night out. Kobe takes the worst shots and he’s getting old. I wish the Lakers had Lebron.

  • Matt from Dallas

    I hope Jerry is just challenging Kobe. If not, hes starting to go senile b/c Bron is clearly not there yet.

  • i hate the color green

    lebron is magic,bird, and domique rolled in one. but this is where i take kobe or over the so called king any day, down by one or tie with the clock winding down i want kobe “bean” bryant with the ball in his hands. the ultimate closer today.

  • SliqRiq

    Everyone just loves to hate on Kobe…. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesnt. If he scores 40 to 50 he’s a ballhog and selfish if he plays the role of facilitator then he’s not aggresive enough.
    Bottom line is he’s the Greatest NBA player that they love to hate because of who he is!!!
    But I’d take Kobe over anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • berks24

    winning the ring doesnt define the greatest for jerry,cause he only got 1 in 14 yrs.with no season mvp?
    yes lebron is the best right now and soon will be only if he get over this
    81 poits
    10 straight 40 pts
    12 3′s not to mention 9 straight 3′s
    4 50 points
    62 in 3 quarters outscoring a team alone
    55 in half vs the greatest MJ

    anything more?hope jerry can read this!or tom will catch him!

  • doodlebobin

    T-Dub
    May 18th, 2009 at 9:08 pm
    You guys all know that Lebron is WAY better than Kobe. Lebron plays like a champion, night in and night out. Kobe takes the worst shots and he’s getting old. I wish the Lakers had Lebron
    I wish the Lakers had ur mom cuz they bomb head she gives will motivate the players to play harder

  • LongDongMamba

    Lebron needs to win 3 titles to take the crown from Kobe at this point in time. When that happens then I will agree as LBJ as better than Kobe.
    LBJ needs to win 6 titles to the called better than MJ.

    LBJ is a fantastic player, but too much hype around him. I want to see him win one title to start a conversation about putting him on the same level as Kobe.

  • lakers4life.

    when everyone is saying lbj needs to win 3 rings that is talking about his carrer. jerry west is saying that he is a better player right now but i think whoever wins more rings is going to have the better carrer.

  • sketch

    [Comment ID #71895 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I agree. It doesn’t make sense for Jerry to spew this crap out now on the eve of the Western Conference Finals, but I’m sure that there’s a reason. And it does Sound like that the logo just threw down the gauntlet and we can all be sure that the Mamba will answer with an extremely venomous bite and whoever stands in his way will be taken out!

    We’ll worry about LeHype later! Right now it’s Melo and his Mile High nuggets. All that thin air is making them think that they’re actually better than they are and our Lakers’ will gladly show them the mirror and put them in their place… second in the Western Conference!

    Go Lakers!

  • berks24

    james makes teammates better?????who is gasol in memphis lakers????who is he now!lebrog cant play with gasol n bynum neither with shaq cause he cant shoot jumper at all time.he may also have argument with shaq as a teammate coz shaq dont want another superstar than him.specially when they both play the paint!who is kobe at 24?3 rings with lot of records!

  • Majic “Big” Johnson

    Give to Lebron, what is Lebron’s and Kobe what is Kobe’s…

  • berks24

    ab4sure
    May 18th, 2009 at 8:27 pm
    The Greatest Laker has Spoken. The Verdict is in. No more debate

    how can you say a player as the greatest if he only brings 1 championship in 14 yrs.and never won an season mvp,when there are not just more than 15 teams?So sorry for west kobe has just surpassed him in playoff most points!
    I think you are the greatest!…….Greatest KObe hater…..

  • FreakinCrod

    [Comment ID #71949 Will Be Quoted Here]

    How is Lebron anywhere near the shooter that Bird was?? Also he is not a better scorer than Kobe. The day he scores more than 81, or outscores a team by himself through 3 quarters, then I will admit he’s a better scorer.

  • starving-marvin2k10

    this debate stinks… bron is great, no question, but he has proven nothing… ok, he won the mvp but fck that…
    it´s the same sh/t as it was with carter or iverson when they came to the league… everybody said…uh, they are the next jordans… and look at them now….
    bron has to prove that he´s a champion… than he´s in the debate
    otherwise… no need to talka about this sh/t

  • the ape

    whatever west’s reasons may have been, i just go back to one question: the clock is running out, the season is on the line, your team is down by 1 and you have the ball…

    who do you want taking that shot – kobe or lebron? i think the answer to that for most is kobe any day.

  • Rich

    I don’t agree with that but we’ll see next month who’s better. I would still take Kobe. It’s funny how all the media just wants to push Kobe out the door.

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #71974 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I said Jerry West is the greatest LAKER of them all not the greatest PLAYER of them all.

    He was not only a great player but he built the laker championship of the 80′s as a GM with 5 Titles. He also built the team of 2000′s with 3 straight titles and kobe wouldn’t be a laker if not for Jerry West. Jerry has a big part of the next few championships too.

    Please don’t throw out the hate card. It is worthless buddy.

  • lakerfan

    it seems to me everybody is jumping ship this year. All I have to say Lebron can get his shine on this year, in addition, he is a better player than Kobe this year, but wait till both of their careers are over. Because i know Kobe Bean Bryant has alot of gas still in that tank. It reminds me when Jordan came back the second time, how everyone was dogging him saying he’s too old his days our done. But hey they guy work on his game all summer came back and won 3 more rings. All i have to say Kobe’s drive and competiviness will shut all his critics up when his career is over. TRUST ME ON THAT

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    Have you guys noticed that this picture looks nasty?! Every time I scroll down I have to do a double take. It looks as if LBJ is giving KB a BJ.

  • gugy

    Lebron this season is better than Kobe, but in a match between these two, I will give Kobe the edge. He already proved it twice this season he can beat Lebron.

    Also, Jerry is doing this because he knows Kobe loves a challenge and will do whatever it takes to prove the master wrong. Jerry is playing mind games. Mark my words!

    Jerry is a Laker for life is playing a smart game here with these comments.
    Kobe needs to be pinched and doing that will spark the inner beast on him. Jerry is doing exactly that.
    Saying Lebron is better than him will give the spark Kobe needs to push the series against Denver and like everybody predicts a final between these two.
    Jerry knows Kobe better than anyone else and his latest move is a prove he can make Kobe push himself to a new level. Wait and see.

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #71991 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Yes you are right. It is done on purpose by tln. Probably not the best way to “frame” the argument.

  • kobe8

    Kobe proved he was the best player in the league at the Olympics, and also when he played and OWNED LeBron twice when he wasn’t even 100% both times. Kobe didn’t play all out this season because he was trying to conserve energy for the playoffs. This Denver series is gonna show how GREAT Kobe is.

    Kobe >> LeBron

  • lakeshow

    He must be senile, Kobe is the best by a long shot. Nobody cares what Jerry West says anyway.

  • HolyGuacamole

    This debate is COMPLETELY and ENTIRELY a matter of opinion.
    Kobe or LeBron, no fixed standard actually proves that one is better than the other. These are two different players that entered the league in very different times.
    Kobe’s clutch performance and being the best closer there is.
    LeBron’s out-of-this-world stats and being the best finisher in the league now.
    How to compare these two? I absolutely have no clue. It’s just a matter of point of view and — maybe a too strong word, but quite appropriate — bias.
    If I contribute my own opinion, I would say Kobe’s still the best because I like him better, and that he would continue being the best until he retires. I still refuse to transfer the crown to someone who has only been playing in the league for five to six seasons than someone who has played for thirteen seasons. It’s all experience. Period. That’s MY opinion.
    The next guy who comments would either have the same opinion or a different one, but the keyword IS opinion.

  • T-Dub

    When Lebron can put up 62pts in 3 quarters and top 81pts, then talk to me. MJ never done that! All these DI-CK heads are going strictly off of a weak eastern conference and the youth, energy, and size LBH has to put up stats. That don’t mean SH-IT! Compare their skill level and it’s not even close! And that previuos post by T-Dub about wishing the Lakers had LB had to be one the DI-CK heads on this site…Lakersfag, A-S-S4sure, or LEADERDI-CK…..

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #72001 Will Be Quoted Here]

    It wasn’t me a**hole. Their impersonating me as well.

  • WifelovesLuke

    You can never be considered the greatest until you’ve done one very KEY thing. Win Championships! Yes, Championships! Not just one or two. Lebron will need multiple Championships to ever really be in the same conversation as Jordan and Kobe. Kobe (with LA’s youth and depth) is poised to get 2 or 3 more rings.

    Is Lebron a sick athlete and a physical specimen? Absolutely, but so was Dominique. How many Ships did he win? None! So far, Lebron is 0-1 in the finals. Let’s see if he can get there again this year and beat the team from the West.

  • JFK-analysis-at-TLN

    this one is interesting….

    i am very disappointed in you “so called” basketball/ laker fans…you ppl are sick with VERY weak and forgetful minds..

    MJ is great-but he was never the weapon that kobe was. 81, 61, 61-in 3 quarter, 4 or 5 50+pts in a row….a better shooter, way more skilled…Mj was a better post player, and defender….

    LBJ-this generation listens to too many “experts” telling them who is better or something crazy…..

    and the argument about the past vs. the future…MJ played 1 on defense for the most part- and a good “DEFENDER” back then would be eaten alive in todays game….my little 12yr old brother asked me if MJ ever had a defender as good as “Battie” on him that blocks the eyes of a shooter…..i thought about it for a while-no-not really….

    so everything about the game has gotton better-and still KB makes it look effortless…
    you ppl need to THINK and have a mind of your own……

  • GC

    If Lebron James is that good, how well did he play against the elite teams this year?( LA, Boston, Orlando) ..not very

    LeBron as of now is still a highlight reel. He has proven nothing other than being a well-known celebrity.
    His jumper is still inconsistent and he drives to the rim fearlessly because the refs are there to bail him out.

    Kobe, on the other hand, has not lost his step. He’s got better teammates so there is no point for him to score 35 each game anymore.

    In addition, we can never say Lebron is the future. Since he has a high tendency to drive and bulldoze to the net, there is a greater risk of injury. Anyone remember Grant Hill, Penny , T-Mac, VC? They were supposed to be the “next Jordan”, now what? lol

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #72001 Will Be Quoted Here]

    MJ never did that? Either has Kareem and they are both recognized as better than Kobe. Kobe never won 6 titles with 6 mvp finals trophies. Kobe never won dpoy and 5 mvp’s. I will take Jerry West’s opinion over your everyday. Find another scapegoat also for your imitator. I don’t need to smash you with an imitator becuz your opinions are weak enough.

  • JFK-analysis-at-TLN

    if we are going to use the “RING” argument to determine the best-then we might as well give that to Bill Russel because no one will ever win that many (11) again. Oh, Big Shot Bob has like 7 too so throw him into the argument…

    the fact is that LBJ will become one of the greats, MJ will always be the best (because ppl will not let go of there fantasy..not because he really is)

    and KOBE will always be the Great among GREATS…but will never be given credit……as it has been said by many wise men…..

    “Jesus came to save man, and for his greatness he was killed”
    i’m not comparing KB to Jesus-i would be crazy- it’s the principle-KB is being punished for being better than our fantasy player MJ

  • dtownsboy

    Well Ima die hard Kobe fan but I love Lebron, and to be honest Lebron will be the best player….he just isnt right now. Kobe is getting old and us kobe fans have to accept it. But if you ask me who is the best player in the league between these two I will go watch the Olympic championship game and watch Kobe Bryant do what needed to be done (offensively and defensively) to bring us back that gold….and if you havent seen it just go watch the final 6 mins of the game and you come back and tell me who made all the right plays and came up big when our team almost folded because of zone defense.

  • kobe is done

    ab4sure
    May 19th, 2009 at 11:04 am Click this link to quote this comment in your reply

    T-Dub on May 19, 2009 at 10:25 am said:

    When Lebron can put up 62pts in 3 quarters and top 81pts, then talk to me. MJ never done that! All these DI-CK heads are going strictly off of a weak eastern conference and the youth, energy, and size LBH has to put up stats. That don’t mean SH-IT! Compare their skill level and it’s not even close! And that previuos post by T-Dub about wishing the Lakers had LB had to be one the DI-CK heads on this site…Lakersfag, A-S-S4sure, or LEADERDI-CK…..

    MJ never did that? Either has Kareem and they are both recognized as better than Kobe. Kobe never won 6 titles with 6 mvp finals trophies. Kobe never won dpoy and 5 mvp’s. I will take Jerry West’s opinion over your everyday. Find another scapegoat also for your imitator. I don’t need to smash you with an imitator becuz your opinions are weak enough.
    You r the one who has the weak opinion.To call gerry the greatest what about kareem(6 mvp) and magic(3 mvp)what about their rings?and don’t crack the GM situation here until kobe becomes a GM…you don’t even witness his game.what ?the halfcourt shot kobe did a lot.he just got lot of respect because for being a primitive laker.gerry witness kobe in HS that is why he gave up his starting center for kobe and accidentally kobe loves LA and west gets lucky on that.at what age did jordan start winning basketball???kobe had 3 when he was 24,and lebron was still trying.And dont give a crack that shaq did it for kobe cause shaq cant win with penny,he just get lucky with wade cause the spurs didn’t make it to the finals,plus the fact that their on the weak east and kobe has kwame n smush that time.if not for kobe maybe the spurs won it 6 straight from 99-06 so be true KOBE is the lakers this decade.No team has ever won it alone jordan has pippen and a defensive n rebound minded rodman,and yes jordan has no defender that covers his eyes!Jordan has no lebron,pierce,wade,melo(consistent mvp contenders),crzy artest, unsport defender battier,ROY,allen ray,on his way that’s why he gets through it.Maybe we can consider your boy lebrog as the young kobe of the jordan era so be it!!!!

  • Lebron2009MVP

    I respect the logo but he is worng here. Kobe is still the most feared player in the world. Lebron has way better stats but stats don’t tell the entire story. Kobe’s fundamental’s are just so much better than everyone else’s that it is not even close. Lebron is on his way though,he is right on Kobe’s heels,but to me the logo contrdicted himself. How can you be the best player,but yet not be the one to take the last shot? That’s whatmakes Jordan and Kobe the best,they hit the last shot. To be honest I think West was just trying to pump up Kobe,and if it wors and you guys beat us,because Kobe goes crazy,I will lose all respect for the logo. Well good luck to you guys the rest of the postseason.

    Go Cavs

  • ab4sure

    kobe is done
    May 19th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    To call gerry the greatest what about kareem(6 mvp) and magic(3 mvp)what about their rings?and don’t crack the GM situation here until kobe becomes a GM…you don’t even witness his game.what ?the halfcourt shot kobe did a lot.he just got lot of respect because for being a primitive laker.gerry witness kobe in HS that is why he gave up his starting center for kobe and accidentally kobe loves LA and west gets lucky on that.at what age did jordan start winning basketball???kobe had 3 when he was 24,and lebron was still trying.And dont give a crack that shaq did it for kobe cause shaq cant win with penny,he just get lucky with wade cause the spurs didn’t make it to the finals,plus the fact that their on the weak east and kobe has kwame n smush that time.if not for kobe maybe the spurs won it 6 straight from 99-06 so be true KOBE is the lakers this decade.No team has ever won it alone jordan has pippen and a defensive n rebound minded rodman,and yes jordan has no defender that covers his eyes!Jordan has no lebron,pierce,wade,melo(consistent mvp contenders),crzy artest, unsport defender battier,ROY,allen ray,on his way that’s why he gets through it.Maybe we can consider your boy lebrog as the young kobe of the jordan era so be it!!!!
    —————————————————————-

    WTF??? First of all its Jerry West and right there it tells me you don’t know your laker history. 2nd of all Jerry West has contributed more to the lakers than anyone. kobe as a gm??? How did he do in wanting to trade Bynum. Kobe won’t be a GM.

    Kobe had 3 at a young age because he had the most dominant center in Shaq. How has he done without Shaq? Enuff said.

    Kobe is a great player but you need to take off your purple and gold glasses or should I say your kobe lenses because Lebron has passed Kobe. Even the great laker who has meant more to the lakers than anyone and knows talent Jerry West says so. After all didn’t Jerry draft Kobe.

  • Ty

    Kobe will never by no means be better than Jordan…are these people on drugs. He doesn’t even come close. He wouldn’t even won a championship if it wasn’t for Shaq.

    And everyone who is a true basketball fan will have to admit Lebron is better than Kobe when it comes to the all around player. Just be honest.