Who's better: Kobe or LeBron?

Kobe and LeBron are the best in the biz. But who comes out on top? Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

In this space we'll break down the best individual matchup of the week to see who's the better player. But toss out career accomplishments or potential. This is about ability -- strengths, weaknesses, intangibles -- and who gives his team the best chance to win. It's about the only thing that matters when you step on the court on any given night -- who's better right now.

Sure, there's not much at stake when Kobe Bryant takes the floor opposite his friend and rival LeBron James at Sunday's 60th NBA All-Star Game, but it is a perfect opportunity to compare the two most dominant players in the game.

Bryant has long been regarded the greatest player of his generation and is certainly its most decorated. But as the tail end of the Bryant era merges with James' prime, the lines of superiority blur and the picture becomes fuzzy as to who's the better player.

Here's what's crystal clear. The winner of this epic clash and the best player in the game are one in the same. For many years, Bryant has worn the tag of the world's best. But eventually Kobe will have to pass that torch. Or has he already?