I’ll just state this up front; I’m pulling for the Miami Heat to beat the Dallas Mavericks in this year’s NBA championship. I’m doing so for quite a few reasons, but I’m going to withhold that for now because it’s not the topic of this rather quick post; at least it’s planned on being a quick post.
Last week Scottie Pippen, the Hall of Famer that won 6 championships with Michael Jordan and wouldn’t have won a single thing without him (or been in the Hall of Fame without him) came out with what was one of the most idiotic statements one player has ever said about another player, past or present. He stated that LeBron James now is a better player than Michael Jordan ever was, and history would back that statement up.
Now, it’s not a secret to many people that pay attention to professional basketball that Pippen has always felt like the odd man out. He’s always felt like he should have gotten equal acclaim to Jordan, kind of like Kobe Bryant felt when he was teamed with Shaquille O’Neal. The problem here is that Pippen wasn’t even Kobe. Pippen had his chance in two years to help his team win a championship, and instead one of those years he refused to go back into the game when it was on the line, jealous of another player on the team from Europe. Kobe went on to win championships without Shaq, proving his legacy.
So, if LeBron as good as Jordan was? Not even close. He’s very good, and no one can take that away from him, but come on, let’s be realistic. In their prime, if you put Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, who wasn’t a scorer, against LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who do you think would win? Is there anyone who really believes a Michael Jordan-led team would have lost a basketball game they were 15 points up in with just over 5 minutes to play? Does anyone think that Michael Jordan would have stayed outside chucking up 3-pointers instead of driving the ball into the middle and at least getting fouled so his team would at least keep scoring some points to offset whatever the other team was doing?
LeBron James is good; really good. So is Dwayne Wade. Michael was good AND smart. Michael Jordan got better every single year; there were few players in history as mentally tough and talented as this guy. And I don’t even have him as my top NBA player of all time; that would go to Wilt Chamberlain, who was also my favorite basketball player of all time. It’s hard to compare people who played different positions like this, but Wilt made the NBA change rules; heck, Wilt made college basketball change rules. Wilt averaged more than 50 points a game one year; he averaged more than 25 rebounds a game one year. Wilt took teams without stars close to championship games; Bill Russell lead teams with stars to championships. But Wilt was the man.
Jordan was the second man. In essence, Jordan led his team to 6 championships in a row if we ignore the two years he went off to play basketball. Jordan made sure his team won when it counted. He knew he was talented, but he also knew he needed to be more. Even if LeBron helps his team win the championship this year, which I hope he does, he doesn’t knock Jordan off the pedestal. Not until he learns to take over when his team is reeling, get to the foul line and keep his team from collapsing down the stretch.
Enough said; okay, it wasn’t as short as I thought it might be. lol