Blog Entry

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:52 pm
Posted by Royce Young

Mike Brown has been a pretty fortunate head coach. Sure, he got fired from his last gig, but he's coached teams that featured LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. So basically, he was set up to do well.

But he's also one of the few people that actually have a good perspective on the differences between the two superstars. Brown coached LeBron for multiple seasons in Cleveland, but Kobe just a handful of games in Los Angeles. Still, he has had a unique look at both players. His early conclusion: They're different. Via the O.C. Register:

"There's just a different feel to the two guys," Brown said.

It was clear from what Brown suggested that there's a harder edge to Bryant (and even James' contemporaries Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant) that James still lacks.

"LeBron is a guy who is still learning and still growing, and the reality of it is that being down there with Dwyane Wade has helped him," Brown said. "They're different personalities. LeBron, he's a guy who likes to laugh and joke. He knows obviously there's a time to be serious, but he's youthful.

"Kobe is not as much. Kobe's more serious-minded and so on and so forth. But Kobe knows how to have fun in his own way, too."

It's very easy to read into those comments and make something out of them. But even from just the outside perspective, that's the truth. LeBron has talked about having fun and trying to make basketball a game first. Kobe approaches it like it's his only sustinance and if he doesn't win, he'll die. Maybe that's a difference between the two in terms of Kobe having multiple titles and LeBron having failed twice. Maybe not.

There are things that separate players. Mental makeup, competitive drive, insanity, anger -- whatever. Kobe Bryant is a different animal when it comes to basketball. It makes him a joy to watch and a pain to watch. LeBron is a freak of nature but obviously doesn't have the same mindset as Kobe when it comes to the game. Kobe has no fear of taking 35 shots in a game and then standing in front of the press saying, "Yeah, so what?" after the game. LeBron almost plays to please everyone. Not in a sense that he doesn't have the backbone, but he prefers to play more team ball than take over. It's the best and worst thing about him.

I don't know if you can take Brown's comments as something that says LeBron needs to grow up, but there is something to be said for having fun and something to be said for making basketball life or death. There are things much more important in life than a game, but at the same time, that's sometimes what makes the great ones great. It means everything to them. It almost means too much. There's no time to have fun on the basketball court, only time to win.

But like Brown said, LeBron is young and still has a lot of time to figure things out. Kobe is in an entirely different place career-wise. And it's not like LeBron wouldn't give everything to win. He just wants to have fun while doing it. Nothing really all that wrong with that. People are different, players are different.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:07 am

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Maybe YOU weren't watching Magic... or didn't read what I wrote. (see what I did there?)
Or maybe it would help you if I linked to the definition of "Red Ass"

Magic didn't play with anger.  
He was intense, but he wasn't a "Red Ass"  
That's why I wrote
"Magic wasn't really like that either"
He wasn't ill tempered and bent like Kobe and Bird.
And that's not a bad thing, which is why I pointed it out.

"Plenty of winners were far lower on the angry intensity scale than those guys. Olojuwon, Dirk, Paul Pierce, Chauncey, Manu all came through...
They had ice water in their veins, not bulging veins on their foreheads."

You can compete as hard as anyone and not be a pisser.
Sure Magic yelled at a guy here and there.  Every great player does at some point,  but he wasn't like Kobe. 

I don't know how you know what Lebron is thinking or not. I can see him shy away from the lead role in a pivitol game, but I don't know what drives him to do it. Maybe it is fear, like you said, maybe it's his nature. Maybe it's happenstance. I've seen it though. A seeming lack of bravado. 


I didn't call Kobe an ass, I called him a "red ass" - But that IS part of what makes him great, as I wrote
"1.  has been on talented teams that could contend 
2. is himself immensely talented and skilled
3.  is a real red a$$."

But what works for him isn't the only way to be great. 

Lebron has immense talent. If the ball bounces the right way for him once or twice the  "why can't lebron win" convo is over.
Worked for Dirk...

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:47 pm

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Actually, Magic Johnson was like that.  Unless you never really watched him, you didn't see him chewing out Vlade Divac in his rookie season when he would blow a play.  He had no scruples about chewing out his teammates either.  He was best friends with Isiah Thomas, and when they stepped on the court for the Finals, said, "We're not friends right now."  Magic may not have showed it as outwardly as Kobe or Jordan or Bird, but he was exactly like that.  

You want to win?  You do whatever it takes.  You risk losing.  You rish failure.  This is something that Lebron still fears.  He doesn't step up because he is afraid to fail.  His prime motivation has always been money.  Would he like to win a ring?  Sure, but as he has stated so many times, he wants to be the highest paid player of all time.  

Yeah, Kobe can be an ass, but that's what I love about the guy.  He doesn't give a damn what anyone says about him.  He's on that court to win, and win period, and he will do whatever it takes.  Just like people use to call Bird, "an assassin on the court," Kobe has also been referred to by the same terminology.  Magic Johnson has said numerous times that he has never seen anyone work on his game as hard as Kobe.  And even Phil Jackson said that Kobe and Jordan do share something with the same leve of intensity...the desire to win.

I think that's why most coaches, given a choice, would take Kobe over Lebron right now.  

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:57 pm

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Kobe is 100% invested in winning 100% of the time. There are plenty of players you can say that about, but Kobe  
1.  has been on talented teams that could contend 
2. is himself immensely talented and skilled
3.  is a real red a$$.

He shares those traits with many of the most decorated stars in league history.
The last one especially. Like Bird, Isaiah and Jordan this guy plays with a ton of intensity (anger?) he gets pissed off when he doesn't like what he sees, wants to yell at everybody and rip and tear and scratch and claw and do whatever it takes to win. He's about to blow his top when someone screws that up for him and doesn't mind calling out his team (Larry Bird called the Celtics sissies once)
And Kobe is at the far end of the red A$$ spectrum with Jordan and Larry and Isaiah.

Lebron is NOT like that on the court. And that might be fine, honestly. Magic wasn't really like that either. Duncan is sarcastic, but he's not a red a$$. Plenty of winners were far lower on the angry intensity scale than those guys. Olojuwon, Dirk, Paul Pierce, Chauncey, Manu all came through...
They had ice water in their veins, not bulging veins on their foreheads.
Shaq was a post season monster and he acted like a 15 year old most of the time.

Lebron is pretty nasty at hoops. Maybe he doesn't have that angry streak, but it's not everything.
If he gets 1. (has been on talented teams that could contend ) enough times he should win some, because 2. takes care of the rest.

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:38 pm

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Biggest difference is that Kobe is on a LeDuche bag

Since: Jan 12, 2012
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:26 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:54 pm

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

@ Antz: that argument of yours is as old and tired as Kobe Bryant's legs...

Wait, that would make your argument rather lively and refreshed of late?!?!

For the one millionth and second time: nobody does it alone. Every star needs help. It's one reason why LeBron's decision is stinking less and less to me each day.

Larry Bird: had Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Dennis Johnson.

Michael Jordan: had Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant for the 1st 3 titles, and then Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, and Dennis Rodman for the last 3.

Tim Duncan: had David Robinson and Sean Elliot for the 1st title, and then Robinson, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili for the 2nd title, and then Parker, Ginobili, Robert Horry and Steve Kerr for the 3rd title, and then Parker, Ginobili, Horry, and Michael Finley for the 4th title.

The Lakers would not have "threepeated" from 2000-2002 without Kobe Bryant. Shaq was one of the greatest ever, but if you go back and look at things it's obvious that the Lakers would not have gotten past the tough Sacramento, Portland, and San Antonio teams of the day without Bryant.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Everyone STILL wants to give sole credit to Kobe for his rings.  That's like giving Magic Johnson and Larry Bird sole credit for their rings. The only player who probably would gain 'most' of the credit for his rings is Michale Jordan and that's partly thanks to the NBA's ruination of the superstar.  Tim Duncan would be a someone distant 2nd.

Lets face it, Kobe couldn't get it done without the Pau Gasol robbery OR Shaq...hell, he wouldn't even be close if not for Robert Horry who is the most forgotten player on the planet.  Maybe he should've raped someone, married a porn star, or made movies and a rap video to!

And coaching...Mike Brown is a great coach and the Cavaliers were stupid to fire him...but whaver, he lacks what Eric Spolestra lacks and that's 'kick assness' (sorta the differenced between Kobe and Lebron?)...I'll still be surprised if Kobe wins one without Phil Jackson who has more rings than ANYONE!   So sick of the 'rings' argument for Kobe.  Just stop bringing him up.  He can't touch Jordan's or Bird's jock...much less Tim Duncan's.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or