Crying Games: His Airness vs The King

20170531_221941.jpgSports debate is my guilty pleasure.  Some fans say they hate it, but I believe those detractors only hate the fact that they aren’t on camera giving their rebuttal to the Stephen As and Skips of the world.

On the eve of the NBA Finals there is one debate that has been ridiculously overplayed to the point that it is causing the talking heads to attempt to tear down an immortal legacy that was cemented a long time ago.

LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world.  He had the pressure of going pro right out of high school and exceeded the hype.  He has beaten iconic teams like the Big 3 Celtics, an All-Star packed Thunder team, the Spurs dynasty and the 73-win Warriors on path to championships.  He is a freak specimen.  LBJ is just one of the guys in the locker room.  You couldn’t ask for a better representative of the league on and off the court.

I have nothing negative to say about LBJ.  I’m not going to discredit his legacy, but I can’t believe I have to defend the one of the greatest athlete I have ever seen.   It seems like every other day I turn on FS1 and there is Shannon Sharpe, Nick Wright and Colin Cowherd just picking apart Michael Jordan’s accomplishments.  They start spitting out stats, crediting MJ’s teammates all of a sudden, suggesting he played weaker competition and after all these years finding holes in his game.

While I respect all these men’s careers they look utterly foolish on this one.  Jordan played in an era that was very physical, bigs still mattered and they didn’t have small ball.  Like LBJ, he made his teammates better.  He’s never really been given credit for helping to resurrect Dennis Rodman’s career.  If he needed to make a three he drained it.  Had to steal the ball or grab the board he did it.  The tape doesn’t lie.  Watch the games over again.  There is a reason 20 years removed from an NBA Finals his are still the highest rated to date.  Jordan was purely mythical.

The one criticism that bothers me the most is that Jordan didn’t face as tough of competition on the path to a title.  You can argue that it is even more disrespectful to those who played in his era.  Here is a list of notable players Jordan disposed of as he climbed to the top of Mount Olympus:

Patrick Ewing

Charles Barkley

Isiah Thomas*

Joe Dumars*

Dennis Rodman*

Magic Johnson*

James Worthy*

Clyde Drexler*

Dominique Wilkins

Alonzo Mourning*

Shaquille O’Neal*

Penny Hardaway

Shawn Kemp

Gary Payton*

Chris Webber

John Stockton

Karl Malone

Reggie Miller

bold = HOF   underlined = Member of the 1992 Dream Team   * = NBA Champion

 

LeBron has an opportunity to build on his legacy.  Why don’t we just enjoy the fact that we’ve had two once in a lifetime players in our lifetime?  Why do we have to anoint LBJ today when he still has a couple chapters left to finish?  He is going to have to do more to eclipse the basketball scripture that is the book of Jordan.  Let’s see if he can do it.  The King is the greatest on Earth.  If he is as borderline invincible as Sharpe, Wright and Cowherd claim that he is then he doesn’t need their pathetic attempts to take shots at the Airman’s legend in order to pad his own resume.

 

 

 

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