Luke Walton outlines the similarities between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James' decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers this summer has seen comparisons between him and Kobe Bryant emerge once again.

But one man who's more qualified than most to give his opinion on this debate is Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

He was drafted in the same class as LeBron in 2003 and played against him many times during his nine-year career.

The 38-year-old didn't enjoy as much success as James but he did win two NBA championships playing alongside Bryant in LA.

Having competed against LBJ on numerous occasions, he'll now have the unique opportunity to coach the best player in the league.

There aren't many people who are fortunate enough to be in the company of both Kobe and James as a teammate and coach.

What makes them similar

In a recent interview with Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, Walton compared the duo and identified the similarities between them.

“The thing that they all have in common is their work ethic," he said.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

"Some players have the skill, some players work hard and don’t have the natural talent, and when you’re talking about Kobe, LeBron, guys of that nature, they have the natural ability, they have the brains and they have the work ethic to go on top of it.

"He (James) was up at 6 a.m. working out before we had breakfast that day. So even though it’s the offseason he’s already getting after it every day, and like I said, I’m looking forward to this season.”

Instead of going down the usual route of discussing the difference between them and who might be better, he chose to focus on what makes both players great.

They are two true legends in the game and generational talents that we've been fortunate enough to watch.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

But even though Walton has played against James and watched him many times, he's still preparing himself for the challenge of coaching him.

He reached out to Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra to get advice about the King.

As he's only five years older than the four-time MVP, Walton is more likely to allow him to have an input and listen to his thoughts rather than coaching him all the time.

With such a high basketball IQ, James often acts as the coach on the floor for his teams and he'll definitely have a big say on things for the Lakers.

CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.

News Now - Sport News