Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James was a better rivalry in concept than reality. Bryant's Lakers ran off back-to-back titles at the Cavs' front office failed to put the right supporting cast around James, then Bryant's body betrayed him during James' era of dominance. As a result, fans were never treated to the Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals that they had so desperately hoped for. On Friday night, the rivalry that never was came to its conclusion, as the Cavs visited the Lakers at Staples Center.
Understanding the moment, Bryant and James showed flashes of their collective brilliance in a game that was never really in doubt, but still entertained. On a rather exceptional night of shooting, Bryant hit 11 of his 16 shots en route to a 26-point performance. James paced the Cavs with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a 120-108 victory.
Answering future sneaker trivia, Bryant played in his "Lakers" Nike Kobe 11 PE, while James laced up the "Doernbecher" Nike LeBron 13.