The Lakers dynasty at the beginning of the century was led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal | Vince Bucci / .
Comparisons are the order of the day in the NBA, and an interesting exercise is given in evaluating the impact of various star duos on the dynasties that dominated the league for the past several decades. In this category, the couples made up of Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James with Dwyane Wade stand out without a doubt.
But which of these pairs managed to be more imposing in the NBA? To answer this concern, several factors must be taken into account, where statistical but also qualitative values stand out.
Kobe and Shaq played together over eight seasons, where they reached the Finals four times and won the championship three times (2000,2001 and 2002). During this period they were constantly part of the All-Star Game and the ideal NBA team. They also managed to remain in the top 5 of the best scorers in the league for four seasons.
Shaq to Kobe? pic.twitter.com/pbiKpqZqTw
– NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) May 19, 2020
In the case of LeBron and Wade as leaders of the Heat for four seasons, they reached the Finals in all of them and won two championships (2012 and 2013). They also managed to be permanent figures in the All-Star Game and the league’s first team.
Wade ▶ ️ LeBron.
One of the most iconic duos of all time. pic.twitter.com/PvtRsYA2hj
– In Context NBA (@oocnba) May 17, 2020
There are some notable differences regarding these pairings, where the style of play is probably the most significant. While Wade had previously been a leading scorer, he adapted his playing style to LeBron, who managed to be MVP in three of his four seasons with the Heat. In Bryant’s case, his game evolved to match offensively with Shaq and at one point he became the team’s best scorer.
In terms of dominance in the Finals, the Lakers were clearly superior in terms of the category with which they won by accumulating an overall record of 13-5, while in the case of the Heat they were much more demanded with 11-12.
It’s hard to match stellar duos with such different characteristics and career moments, but the Lakers were a truly dominant force that at least during their opening part of championships didn’t have much competition for their superlative level, while the Heat found teams like Spurs. and Mavericks a more comparable opposition.
Best @NBA duo ever. Hands down. Go @Lakers pic.twitter.com/nDXYAEWFka
– Metta World Peace (@ MettaWorld37) May 22, 2020
Thus, the couple made up of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal is considered one of the most dominant of all time and although the pair of LeBron and Wade was very good, it remains the feeling that they should have won at least one more championship.