In the past decade there were two names who dominated the basketball world – LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. While Bryant was widely considered the “best player” at the start of the decade, James has since taken the throne and continued the legacy in the wake of Bryant’s retirement.
Now, both players have been named in NBA.com’s All-Decade list for their impact on the game and production over that period of time.
LeBron leads the league in All-Stars (10) and All-NBA teams (10) over the course of the past ten years. While the majority of prime was spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, LeBron still has a lot to give to the Lakers as he chugs forward into his mid and late 30’s over the coming years.
Kobe’s been placed third, mostly because he really only played for half the decade. Especially factoring in his Achilles’ injury that forced him out for a year, Bryant’s biggest obstacle holding him back from being higher up this list was simply father time. However, during his active years, Bryant was able to put together an extremely impressive seven All-Star appearances at four All-NBA teams.
As for the second All-Decade honors, Kobe Bryant was unanimously a first-teamer of the 2000s while James got his name on second and third-team lists despite joining the league in just 2003.
Having missed the playoffs for the first time since his sophomore campaign in the NBA, LeBron’s motivation is even higher this year. As an established veteran, he’ll team with contributors that all look tailor-made to play alongside LeBron – most notably Anthony Davis. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins could potentially be a game changer as well, especially if he can bounce back and return to his best-performing self.
James knows that the clock is ticking and this year’s team offers him a realistic shot to get at least one more ring before he rides off into the sunset. He currently has three rings won with the Cavaliers and Heat – adding another would be an even bigger accomplishment as he helps to restore the Lakers’ storied franchise from its darkest depths.
Coming into the season fresh and well-rested, playing alongside a brand new superstar, and with a supporting cast tailored to fit his drive and kick playstyle, James is nothing but ready to continue writing basketball history.