LeBron James may have won the league MVP award for this year but it’s the two players that challenged him for the title this season whose stark differences caught my attention.

With Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, no one argues their skill level, work ethic, or desire to win championships. What does get debated, are topics of selfish vs selfless, team vs individual, and what it takes from a star player to win championships.

Your time in the spotlight

With personal branding, you should make the most out of the time when the spotlight is on you. Kobe takes this form of self-marketing to an extreme. All teams in the NBA know that 99% of the time he will be taking the game’s last shot, especially in high-pressure situations. He is also the one who basks in the glory of his accomplishments even if his team did not fare as well, as Chris Groves most recently highlighted in his blog post.

Durant, on the other hand, is almost too nice, too unselfish. His overt team mentality is illustrated by one of his most recent quotes in the Thunder Rumblings“I trust my teammates, no matter if they miss 20 shots in a row”. He also has admitted that at times he may have made the wrong decision in the name of unselfishness. Being that it is now the playoffs, a different approach may be worth considering.

To compare it to an office situation, while you may be the only person in your position, your actions contribute to the goals on the entire department or company. Are you the one that feels it’s more important to take the necessary steps to make sure you as an individual stand out? Or do you feel the best way to have your impact emphasized is by calling attention to the accomplishments of others on your team?

Perhaps perfection is somewhere in the middle for you, Kobe, and Durant.

Kobe is nearing the end of his prime and, frankly, might not have many “MVP talk” seasons left. That is unless he adopts Durant’s attribute of having a team mindset with passing more and giving credit where credit is due.

Many have noted that the way Durant operates can only take him so far. That is unless he adopts Kobe’s attribute of stepping firmly into the spotlight as the leader, and takes the shots he should have been taking all along.

Are you a Kobe or a Durant? Do you know the necessary changes needed to help you achieve your own “MVP” dreams?


Katie Marston is President and Executive Director of DYME Branding , a personal brand development company focusing on professional athletes, celebrities, and executives. Follow her on Twitter at @ktmarston