LeBron vs. Michael, the Isiah Thomas Perspective
In a debate initiated by Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday on Sunday, players, former players, coaches, and broadcasters, are relentlessly debating about whether MJ was, or LeBron James is, the best player in history.
The latest opinion was given yesterday by Isiah Thomas. As a former player, is most definitely qualified to give his opinion. Everyone has one. His honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2000); NBA champion (1989, ’90); NBA Finals MVP (1990); All-NBA First Team (1984, ’85, ’86); All-NBA Second Team (1983, ’87); NBA All-Rookie Team (1982); 12-time NBA All-Star (1982-93); NBA All-Star Game MVP (1984, ’86); J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1987); One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).
He also coached in the NBA for 5 seasons, 3 years with the Indiana Pacers, and 2 with the New York Knickerbockers. He had a winning percentage of only .333.
His coaching career ended in the college ranks with Florida International University in April, 2012, after a 3 season record of 26-65.
Being interviewed on ESPN’s “The Waddle & Silvy Show”, about the unending discussion, he said: “They’re both great players, and they’re both great in their eras,” He remembered how NBA players had never seen anyone like MJ. He was faster, could jump higher, and was a better athlete than anyone else.
But about LeBron, he said: “LeBron James is the best athlete of today, and he’s probably a better athlete than Michael Jordan was. He’s bigger, he’s faster, he’s stronger.”
He gives some of Michael’s success to Phil Jackson, He believes that James is now in a similar situation.
Magic Johnson was also asked to compare the two: “Easy answer MJ all day, every day!” Johnson tweeted, before adding: “If MJ and LeBron played 1-on-1 10 times, MJ would win all 10. MJ is the ultimate 1-on-1 player!”
Johnson did give James credit as the best player in the game today.
If you watched the Chicago Bulls in the Michael Jordan era, you might have your own opinion. You know I’ll give mine.
MJ did not always have a great supporting cast. Everyone remembers the relationship between he and Scottie Pippen. And, as strange as he may have been, he did have one of the greatest rebounders in the game in Dennis Rodman. But the most important of Jordan’s talents was his ability to make every other member of his team play beyond their natural abilities. His teammates believed in him, and gave 100% for him.
If LeBron is rated purely as a physical specimen, he is intimidating. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the court, and has skillset is comparable to players 3 to 5 inches shorter. While he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he appeared to be a “one-man team”. The overly done announcement of his transition to Miami was not only about him, but a trio including Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. I don’t believe he has the leadership that MJ possessed, and I don’t see the inspiration.
One thing that defined Jordan was that when he decided to score, no one player could defend him. Kobe’s two blocks of James in the All Star game told me that is not the case with LeBron.
Columnist-The Guardian Express