Looking back on the days when I truly loved the NBA, all I can think about is Michael Jordan. MJ transcended the game of basketball. The name on the back of his jersey was truly bigger and brighter than the name on the front.
Over the past week or so I have listened to sports radio hosts, guests and callers try to rank Jordan, Kobe and LeBron. The only thing that kept running through my head was, ‘why is this even a topic of discussion?’ I know that LeBron has had an unbelievable run over the last six or seven games but why are we trying to replace the greatest basketball player to every strap on a pair of sneakers? Why is a six or seven game run by anyone being compared to the greatness of an entire career?
I give all the credit in the world to what Kobe and LeBron have accomplished so far in their careers but can we hold off on the ‘are LeBron and Kobe better than MJ’ discussions?
When all is said and done; when all the dust settles and Kobe and Lebron are retired, then maybe we can have that discussion but for now let’s enjoy what Kobe and LeBron are doing. Let’s appreciate them for what they are…the best in the game TODAY.
One thing Jordan had that Kobe and Lebron will never have is impact. Jordan rewrote what everyone thought was possible in the game of basketball. His skills, his fire, his intensity and his name were known around the world. Before Michael, there was no professional athlete that was as popular around the globe than he was. He changed the game of basketball. He became the benchmark by which all basketball players would be compared. Magic and Bird brought NBA to the spotlight in America and then Jordan took it to another level. He made the game popular around the world, while turning himself and his name into a brand.
Even though Lebron is a physical freak and both he and Kobe are immenesly talented, you can’t rank them with Jordan. I know that it’s human nature to rank anything and everything but sometimes it’s just not possible. Even if Kobe and LeBron win more championships than Jordan there is still no comparison, in my mind. When I rank top athletes in any sport, championships aren’t the only stats that I look at. There are so many other stats that speak to me. The fact that Jordan brought the NBA to a whole new level of popularity speaks volumes. The NBA wasn’t as popular before Jordan was winning championships and it hasn’t been as popular since.
The fact that Jordan took time off from basketball after the death of his father, to play baseball, only to return and dominate the NBA again is a testament to how determined, powerful and good he really was. Who does that? Michael Jordan does that.
So let’s wait on the debate of who ranks as the best ever. Something may change before Kobe and LeBron retire but for now Michael Jordan cannot be touched. Stop the discussion about others taking his crown. For now there is no discussion…Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.