In purely hypothetical terms, how much would you pay to watch a one-on-one game between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James? Would you put down $25 to watch it from the comfort of your home via Pay Per View, noshing on snacks while two of the greatest basketball players of the last fifteen years duked it out? Or would you be willing to pony up 50 to 100 dollars to watch the one-time event in person at an NBA arena?
While being a basketball junkie’s visual ambrosia, there’s little to no way that this would happen. Bryant’s aging body doesn’t need the extra wear of defending the 6’8″ 250-pound James for any amount of time, and James surely wouldn’t risk the possibility of a loss to Bryant further tarnishing his reputation as Ringless King James.
Still though…that hasn’t stopped the LA Times from looking into the question of who would win this epic matchup. From the LA Times Fabulous Forum, we have NBA players’ opinions on who would win between the Black Mamba and King James:
In one of a series of interviews at the Drew League vs. Goodman League rematch last month at Long Beach State, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said Bryant would win.
“He’s probably the best one-on-one player in the game,” Durant said.
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall disagreed.
“Depends on how LeBron plays,” Wall said. “If he plays like he can with his size and his strength, like can’t nobody stop him when he goes to the basket, then I pick him.”
Perhaps New Orleans Hornets guard Trevor Ariza said it best.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but I know I would pay to watch that.”
In the same manner of a heavyweight fight, surely some sort of Pay Per View setup could be arranged between the athletes – the money would simply be too much to decline. After all, last month’s Mayweather-Ortiz fight generated 1.25 million PPV purchases generating $78.44 million in revenue. If some promoter were to give Bryant and James $20 million each and make it a one-on-one series, best out of five games to 11, how could this not easily break $100 million in revenue given the lack of basketball due to the lockout? Casual fans would be drawn in by the gimmick aspect of the event, and basketball diehards would surely dole out the funds to create such a sporting spectacle.
Trevor Ariza put it best in terms of interest for the event: there’s no way of knowing who would win, but there surely would be people willing to pay to find out.