Hugh Hefner Will Take Kobe Over LeBron

Don't you trust Hugh Heffner more than the American public?

Basketball season is long over, but that doesn’t mean you can stop the Nike marketing machine questions about who is better, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.

The question was posed to the American public, or at least the sliver of it that cares enough to vote for the ESPY awards, and they chose LeBron as best NBA player. I’m sure Kobe slumped over his Finals MVP trophy and cried about that.

But Hugh Hefner thinks the American public is wrong. Asked at the Playboy Mansion’s SportsDream Celebrity Poker Party (an event you would much rather attend than the ESPYs) Heff went with Kobe over LeBron.

If the question is whose judgment do I trust, the American public or Hefner… is that really even a question? Have you seen who the American public has elected to office in the last decade?

Even in the middle of summer, the LeBron or Kobe debate seems the talk of casual basketball fans, which says a lot about the marketing of the league. It is about the stars and getting them to square off. Even when they didn’t square off. LeBron didn’t get to the NBA Finals and play against Kobe, even though that had little to do with LeBron and everything to do with Orlando being a better team than Cleveland. It was a reminder that basketball is still a team game.

But teams don’t sell shoes. LeBron sells shoes. LeBron’s puppet sells shoes. Kobe vs. LeBron sells shoes. Who cares about reality?

Despite the ESPY — and the fact LeBron may be a better basketball player right now — this is the Summer of Kobe. He has the NBA title, the Finals MVP award, the bigger success in China. This is the summer of Kobe’s redemption. His puppet is the one getting to dance.

But don’t worry, right now marketing minds are working on how to best exploit this matchup for next year. Whether Kobe and LeBron play any meaningful games against each other or not.

And we know who Hugh Hefner will be rooting for.

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