Lakers' Coach Mike Brown compares Kobe Bryant and LeBron James [updated]
Imagine coaching Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.
Hey, Kobe. Please don't shoot so much.
SCOWL. (Followed by a 40-point performance.)
Hey, LeBron. Please play four quarters instead of three.
SCOWL. (Followed by a 40-point performance in the first three quarters.)
It's a task not many men would be able to do, a role that Mike Brown has been thrust into since being dismissed by Cleveland and accepting the role as head coach of the Lakers.
In an interview with The Times' Ben Bolch, Brown discussed what it has been like to coach the two superstars.
["They're both competitive, they both want to win," Brown said when asked about Bryant and James. "There's just a different feel to the two guys that it's hard to put into words right now. They're both obviously guys that know how to perform at a high level.
"Their games are very different on both ends of the floor, but especially offensively. LeBron is a guy who is still learning and still growing and the reality of it is, being down there with Dwyane Wade is helping him. Every year, every game, he's getting better."
"LeBron, he's a guy that likes to laugh and joke and he knows there's a time to be serious," Brown said. "He's youthful, I guess. That's probably the word, where Kobe is not as much. Kobe is more serious-minded, but Kobe knows how to have fun in his own way too."]
To Bryant's credit, it must be hard to maintain a jovial mood while leading a team despite his sprained right wrist.
Bryant and James are at the top of the league in scoring this season -- Bryant is averaging 30.3 points to James' 29.0 points.
Their almost identical stats beget another never-ending comparison between the basketball behemoths -- who would win in a game of one-on one.
In the video above, The Times interviewed various NBA players on the subject over the summer.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who called Bryant and James 1A and 1B in the league, respectively, said Bryant has the edge.
"Wow that's tough," Durant said. "If I had to pick someone, I'd pick Kobe. He's probably the best one-on-one player in the game."
Said teammate Matt Barnes: "Kobe don't lose to nobody one-on-one."
Said New Orleans' Trevor Ariza: "I would go with Kobe. LeBron is an unbelievable talent, Kobe is as well, that would be a good game, but I would go with Kobe."
All of the players who we talked to voted for Bryant -- except Washington's John Wall.
"If [James] 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," Wall said. "But if he doesn't play that way, then there's a 50-50 chance."
[UPDATED at 12:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misidentified John Wall.]
-- Melissa Rohlin