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Who Is The Bigger NBA Diva: Kobe Or LeBron?

Posted by Craig Parsons on 10/22/2012 6:53:41 PM

The debate is made for a sports talk-radio station: Who is the bigger NBA diva – Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers or LeBron James of the Miami Heat? When people in the online sports betting legal realm discuss this issue, they have to realize that if they choose to participate, they are doing something that occurs in various high-stakes poker games or other card games: They are speculating.

Any casual fan, not just sports bettors or people interested in football betting in particular, need to realize that this question is not as easy to answer as it once was. In 2007 and early 2008, before the Lakers began their most recent run of dominance, Kobe was the bigger diva, acting out and openly showing his frustration in the face of multiple fruitless seasons that ended in the first round of the playoffs. While the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz made the Western Conference Finals from 2005 through 2007, the Lakers became bystanders on the side of the road, and Kobe let his front office know about his displeasure in no uncertain or merely private terms. Kobe's words carried across the airwaves and became public knowledge, magnifying his image as a diva to many basketball fans.

From 2009 through 2011, LeBron James was the bigger diva in this two-person comparison. James played so well in each regular season, but in the playoffs, he tightened up and shriveled in the face of public scrutiny and pressure, so much so that he became that petulant opera star after a bad night on stage. The denialism that flowed from LeBron's mouth after his crunch-time failures was hard to believe at times. LeBron didn't shake hands with the players on the Orlando Magic after Orlando eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers from the 2009 NBA postseason in the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron then seemed to give up – in a fit of frustration mixed with a young man's growing sense of insecurity – in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics. The bizarre episode on LeBron's home floor in Cleveland created a public-relations nightmare for the Cavaliers. Since LeBron had grown up in nearby Akron, Ohio, it was as though the pressure of playing in his home state was causing something of an identity crisis, but it's a crisis LeBron didn't handle well.

Then came The Decision, the event that stamped LeBron as a diva for all time. The nationally- televised ESPN program made an unprecedented spectacle of a free agent's choice of a place of employment. LeBron was going to decide on TV whether he was going to remain in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, go to Miami to play with the Heat, or possibly play for the Chicago Bulls. The execution of the television broadcast was so poor that LeBron only worsened his identity crisis, and this is something that continued throughout his first season in Miami, which concluded with an awful performance in the NBA Finals. LeBron's inadequacy in that series caused Miami to lose in six games to the Dallas Mavericks. Following Game 6, LeBron made the comment that “All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today.” It was an inelegant way of trying to value his status and wealth, when in fact the greatest professional athletes are measured by the championships they win, not the money they make. LeBron's diva quotient was over the top at that point in time.

However, that changed last year. LeBron became more humble and grounded. After a long and trying offseason, he saw the error of his ways, became a more quiet person, and let his performances do the talking. LeBron owned crunch-time moments in the 2012 playoffs and led Miami to a world championship. This is not the same man who exhibited such a lack of class in the 2010 and 2011 postseasons.

Kobe is different as well. Now older and more reflective, he still zings teammates and reserves harsh words for former teammates he didn't get along with, but the Los Angeles Laker superstar is more honest and less whiny. It really is hard to tell which man is the bigger diva right now – that's how quickly things change in sports.


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