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|02-16-2013, 07:32 AM||#1|
Member Since: Feb 2001
...is the greatest basketball player. Ever.
I rise today to denounce this absurd MJ v. LaBron comparison business. It is absurd because LaBron is, perhaps, the greatest talent the game has ever seen, the most amazing combination of talent and skill and size and strength but, he doesn't have the one thing MJ possessed that separates the greatest of all time, in any sport, from the great talents and skills of their sport who simply are not the champion that the 'greatest' label demands; the will of a champion.
Champions overcome. They face defeat, they get crushed, beaten down, lose, time and again yet find a way, the way, their way, to get back up and overcome, to triumph and Michael did that. As a Chicago Bull. Facing up to the challenge of being on a nothing team with no championship talent and, over several years, finding the missing parts, the will and the path to becoming the best.
LaBron could have done that, having a similar start with Cleveland but, he quit. He walked away from the Great Challenge. We can argue it is a different era, that Mike would have done the same thing had he lived in this era and maybe that's true but, that doesn't change what Jordan did, not even a little bit, but it DOES change everything LaBron could ever, EVER do.
We saw Jordan struggle and lose and fight and claw and learn to win, his indomitable will coming back again and again and getting there. Part of the value of the prize is in what one pays for it and Jordan paid much as a Bull. THAT is how you build the legend, the excitement and the interest, overcoming, facing defeat, fighting.
Could LaBron have done the same thing in time, found his Pippen, his pieces? I won't say he wouldn't have but, I say this; He did NOT and that is ALL the difference in this issue. No matter what LaBron does, and I've said this since he quit Cleveland and moved to Miami to be with a former champ and MVP in Wade, it will not and can not be in the same class of one as what Michael Jordan did.
And, what if LaBron was in Jordan's era? He has no peers today but, Jordan had to compete with Bird and Magic and Isiah and Dominique and Otis Thorpe and Charles Barkley and David Robinson and Pat Ewing and Clyde Drexler and Karl Malone and Worthy and Reggie Lewis and Hakeem and Kevin Willis and Parish and Bernard King and Laimbeer, McHale, George Gervin, Alex English, Dantley, Jabbar, Sampson, Aguire, Moses Malone and all sorts of lesser, slightly lesser, Mahorn, talents who beat him, shaped him, competed with him, night after night after night.
Jordan overcame that. Talent wise, will to win, competitor wise, people talk endlessly of how no one can stop James today. Well, that was not true of anyone back then. You could stop anyone, take away their game, make them do what they don't want but, the greats just work at it, time and time again and find other ways.
James is doing that, some, but, does anyone have any doubt of how many times he would have had the crap knocked out of him in his early years as Jordan did had LaBron played against that lineup of NBA all time greats?
LaBron James short circuited the path to winning. He cheated the fans, the game and, ultimately, himself. This doesn't make him a bad person by any stretch nor does it lessen even a little his talent. All it does is make ineligible for that very top spot. I've even heard this debate over who would win between then in 1 on 1. We know what would happen. MJ would wear him down, would find a way, would fight harder and smarter and would simply beat him. Hell, how would LaBron even do against a whole bunch of guys from that era?
And that's the thing. There is a world of difference between talent and winning and that one person when we are talking about greatest basketball player of all time is...
"...When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them."
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