At age 23, LeBron has demonstrated that he can take a mediocre supporting cast deep into the playoffs. Kobe, when surrounded by a mediocre cast (about which he complained incessantly) during the three seasons before this one, missed the playoffs once and was eliminated in the first round twice, albeit in a tougher conference. Kobe may be better than LeBron, but I couldn't find objective evidence that shows this to be the case.The emphasis on the curiously downplayed concession by Mirengoff that Kobe plays in a much tougher conference than Lebron is mine. That the NBA Western Conference has been far better than the Eastern Conference in recent years is indisputable. All 8 teams in the Western Conference playoffs this year, for instance, had at least 50 wins, while the Green Booger Boys from Beantown barely got out of the first round of the playoffs against an Atlanta Hawks team that had a below .500 regular season record. Within this context, the fact that most of Kobe's offensive numbers this year are only slightly below Lebron's tells me that Lebron James would not be nearly as prolific as he is if he had played most of his games against Western Conference teams. Indeed, let's not forget that Lebron and his team were easily swept by the San Antonio Spurs in last year's NBA Finals. Let's also not forget that by the time he was Lebron James' current age, Kobe Bryant had won 3 championship rings.
Mirengoff is generally a smart guy, but on this matter, he's way off mark.