May 26, 2013, 12:31 PM EDT
LeBron James is not Michael Jordan. He doesn’t have the resume, he hasn’t shown he can sustain this high a level of play for an extended period of time yet.
But we have built up a mythology around Michael Jordan that he is was perfect, that he would never make mistakes. He would never do what LeBron did and have two key late game turnovers that would cost his team a playoff game…
Except he did. Second round 1995 playoffs against the Magic.
That is not peak Jordan, that is No. 45 just returned from baseball Jordan. Next season the Bulls would win 72 games and start another three-peat. We are seeing peak LeBron right now, so the comparison is not ideal.
But the point is Jordan was not perfect. We live in a different time, a different world now with social media and the Internet changing how we break down players and their games, it also changes our perception of athletes. We look back at Jordan punching Steve Kerr in practice as a sign of his toughness and leadership, if he did that now the reaction would be different. Same with the gambling and his off-the-court life. That is not better or worse, it just is true. Jordan came along at a perfect time for him to lift the league and become a cultural icon, not to mention he backed it up with the play of the G.O.A.T. (or at least a guy that has to be in that conversation, if you prefer). Culturally, there will never be another Jordan.
While some reading comprehension impaired commenters on this site think I am biased toward LeBron all I have ever said is this — we should wait to judge his legacy until he is done with the peak of his career. We don’t know his legacy yet. What I am is a fan of the game of basketball and if you love the game you should try to enjoy watching LeBron make plays like this right now because he is a once in a generation talent and a great player. Whatever issues people have with LeBron — or Jordan — speaks more to them and not the players themselves.
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