Last week in the CzabeCast, I explained that even though the debate between LeBron and Jordan is getting more narrow all the time, the adoration of Jordan over LeBron by my generation is a gap that will never be closed. But so far in these playoffs, LeBron James is wiping out teams like a one-man tsumani of stats and buzzerbeaters, that even old farts like me who have never had a “taste” for LeBron and his millenial style are being converted. In the House of James, I too, have become a witness. The running off-handed high-kiss of death that sent LeBronto into a 3-0 pit of misery (“Dilly, dilly!”) was made possible in part by ghastly coaching (really, Dwayne Casey, there was NOBODY else you would have rather shot that ball?) and also by a wet-behind-the-ears Cameroonian kid Pascal Siakam inexplicably running away from an easy double-team on James in the corner, a good 90 feet from the basket.
Still, LeBron hit the shot. Again. When it comes time to hit the damn shot…. he hits it. C-L-U-T-C-H.
Here are some of the best stats and takes from Saturday night.
The tweet about LeBron being like Tiger 2000 hits home for me, and it is why I will try to split hairs just a bit on the LeBron v. Jordan debate. I can now say without any hesitation: “LeBron James is the BEST basketball player of ALL TIME.” While ALSO holding firm that “Michael Jordan was the GREATEST player in HISTORY.”
Just like I think Tiger Woods is the best golfer to ever play the game, I still hold Nicklaus as the “greatest” player in golf history.
To me, “greatness” is a slightly different cut of meat than just being “the best.” It includes a bunch of intangibles that help a player lift his teammates, will his team to victories, maintain an edge of excellence, and otherwise carry himself with that unmistakeable “air of greatness.” LeBron with his juvenile early years (the handshake skipping, fake-coughing, miserable-life quote, The Decision, bumping Spolstra, being a front-runner, etc. etc.) weigh down his “greatness” factor. Just like Tiger’s asshole persona, lack of sportsmanship in a gentleman’s game, probable steroid usage, and disastrous tabloid scandal, keep him from ever planting his flag atop Mt. Nicklaus when it comes to true “greatness” in the game.
But oh, fuck yeah. Tiger was better. Hell yeah. Just like LeBron is better than Jordan. No doubt in my mind.
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