Kobe or LeBron? Ask Coach K
Who do you like more? And who would you want taking the final shot?
Not really a debate for the NBA Finals because LeBron isn't here, but because the only man who has coached both of them - and coached them together - was in Amway Arena before Game 3, it had to be asked.
Kobe Bryant was the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008. LeBron James was the MVP in 2009. So who is the better player?
"Well, they are both on my team,'' said Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the USA Olympic Team that won a gold medal with them in 2008. "So I'm not going there.''
Although all the marketing executives had hoped for a matchup in the 2009 NBA Finals, James and his Cleveland Cavaliers were beaten by Orlando in the Eastern Conference final. Bryant made it here with his Lakers when they beat Denver.
"Kobe is in a different part of his career. You see what he has accomplished, and what he still is accomplishing, and LeBron hasn't done that yet,'' Krzyzewski said. "Now can he? Yeah. When it's all said and done, I think you're talking about two of the top 10 players to ever play the game.''
Krzyzewski was at the game to help the NCAA and NBA announce the beginning of iHoops, their joint basketball initiative that they hope will provide the structure and unification of youth basketball.
He also used the occasion to tell one story about LeBron James during the Olympic summer. After seeing "The Chosen One,'' tattoo on James back, Krzyzewski told his player he wanted to get a similar one for himself.
"He leaned down and said `coach, there's only one Chosen One,''' he said.
"You know what the similarity is? Krzyzewski asked. "They're both brilliant, and they're ultimate team guys.''
He did make one distinction when asked who he would want to take the final shot in the biggest game.
"I'd like LeBron to dribble it, and then hit Kobe, which is what happened in the Olympics,'' he said.