Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
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Shaquille O’Neal Says Kobe Bryant’s ‘Killer Instinct’ Puts Him Ahead Of LeBron James

USA Today

USA Today

With LeBron James making it to a fifth straight NBA Finals, the comparisons to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan’s legacy are becoming unavoidable. The consensus of many is Jordan is still the top dog with six NBA titles and Bryant behind him with five, but LeBron is starting to make a case for the top spot.

Even if LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers are able to get the best of the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, the superstar forward will still be two titles behind Bryant and three behind Jordan. Most legends of the game are defined by titles and until LeBron at least gets five, he’ll continue to have something to prove.

Recently, Shaquille O’Neal, former teammate of both Kobe and LeBron, appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and was asked who he believes was the better player at their peak between Bryant and James. Shaq responded with the following:

“I played with both of them, and Kobe has that killer instinct. I would probably have to go with Kobe. That’s not a knock against LeBron, but I know Kobe, played with him longer, and I’ve seen what he can do.”

Throughout his career in the NBA, Kobe has widely been regarded as one of the most clutch players in the game. Much like Jordan, Bryant has thrived when the game is on the line and many current players in the league still believe he’s the guy they’d want taking the last shot if they could choose.

As for LeBron, the superstar has flourished in a weak Eastern Conference during his 12-year career and has already been on the losing end of three NBA Finals appearances. Bryant has faced much tougher competition and has won five titles out of the seven Finals he’s been in.

Of course, Shaq making this statement about his former Lakers teammate is a bit surprising considering their ugly feud that tore them apart in Los Angeles. O’Neal only played alongside LeBron for one season in Cleveland, but it’s clear Bryant’s “killer instinct” has left an impression on the four-time NBA champion.

H/T to Pro Basketball Talk

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