West picks LeBron over Kobe

May 19, 2009, 10:36 AM HST · Updated May 19, 10:36 AM
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By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

Kobe or LeBron?  The debate continues to rage over whom is the best player in the NBA.

Jerry West, a Hall of Fame player who as a GM was responsible for engineering a deal that brought Kobe Bryant to LA, weighed in on the question.  His response may surprise some – particularly those who are ardent fans of the Lakers.

“I look at Cleveland [and] say to myself, ‘How many games could they win without LeBron James?’ West said. “That’s how great he is.  He has a chance to be arguably the greatest player ever to play the game.”

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West considers Michael Jordan the NBA’s all-time greatest player because he was the league’s top defensive player and its best offensive player, further noting that James is developing into that type of performer.

“If you look at basketball today, it’s not always the big guys that win for you, it’s the intermediate-size guys,” West said. “[He] can play four positions if you ask him to do so, and his ability to get everyone involved in the game is just remarkable for someone his age. I don’t know if there’s a better athlete I’ve ever seen play professional basketball.”

“If I had to have somebody make a last-second shot, it would be Kobe Bryant,” said West.  “But even though it’s hard for me to be objective, because I brought Kobe to Los Angeles, I do think LeBron has surpassed Kobe as a player.”

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