LeBron James and Michael Jordan, two of the NBA’s greatest legends, are heating up the airwaves again. NBA All-Star weekend was filled with open questions about the greatest player to ever play the game. James, at age 28, has one ring under his belt. Jordan did what no other player in NBA history has done before, won three rings, retired and then came back to win three more.
James, possibly the best NBA player ever, won his first ring at age 27. That’s a year younger than Jordan was when he won his first title. James started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003-2004 season and is currently playing with the Miami Heat. He has been to the NBA finals twice. In 2007, James lost to the Spurs with the Cavaliers and in 2011 he beat the Thunder with the Heat to get his first title. James is averaging 27 points per game with 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds this year. Just recently he had six consecutive games with more than 30 points scored. This is perhaps his best year yet!
Jordan, the best NBA player ever, won his first ring at 28 with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 32 points per game with 5.5 assists and 6.7 rebounds before he left the game in 1993 after winning his third consecutive title and Finals MVP trophy. When he returned in 1995, he didn’t win a title his first year back but one year later won the first of the Chicago Bulls’ next three-peat. But it wasn’t just his numbers that caught people’s attention, it was his desire to compete at the highest level. Hence the nickname “Air Jordan.”
Some say it’s about the number of rings; some say it’s about the statistics and the impact the player has on the game. I think it’s about the impact a player has on his team and if he makes them better. We all talk about how great the shot was, but do we ever talk about how great the pass was? Jordan was all about high-flying shots. James has a great shot and he can set up great shots by passing the ball. I think its better to have great passing technique and a good shot rather than having a very good shot and only okay passing skills.
James finally has a core group of guys he can dish the ball to at Miami. Between Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen, the Heat have the experience, the speed, and the confidence to do what the Bulls did. And they have Pat Riley leading them from the corner office. The Chicago Bulls were successful in their two three-peats because they, too, had great players and great leaders. Next to Michael Jordan was Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong and later Dennis Rodman, with arguably the greatest coach ever, Phil Jackson.
I guess I’m a little biased. I did go to two sporting goods stores this weekend asking if they had LeBron shoes. Neither one did. They were sold out. Maybe it’s just a different generation. Mom and dad may think Jordan was the best. I think LeBron is the best and Number 6 will win six in his lifetime. Maybe more. What do you think?