Stop Arguing about the NBA's GOAT and Just Enjoy LeBron James Performing
I know full well "Embracing Debate" is what Sports Television, Radio and Writers do in order to get attention. And often it means putting arguments or questions out there to get eyeballs or ears to start arguing over a Semantic laden question.
Who's the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)?
The NBA Playoffs have amplified the argument and seemingly the "Debate" comes down to "Who is the greatest, Michael Jordan or LeBron James?
I'll forgive the fact said question leaves out guys like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain and others because well, this generation has ZERO long term memory and forgets athletes pre-dating 1980.
But that is another subject for another day....my focus is LeBron vs. Michael. Both amazing athletes, both accomplished and performed unbelievable things in the most extreme circumstances....both ultimate winners.
The argument is dumb and completely pointless.
Just admire these guys for what they've done and leave it at that. There's a generation of people who'll revere Jordan forever and say nobody will equal his accomplishments. 6-time NBA Champion and 6 Time Finals MVP. 5-times the league MVP and 14 times an NBA All-Star. The list is endless.
LeBron is still playing and accomplishing things. 3 NBA Titles, 3 Finals MVP Awards, 14 All-Star selections, 4 league MVP titles. Again, the list goes on and continues to grow.
Why does one of these guys need to be "Elevated" above the other? Why do you have to make this distinction? You don't.
So many (me included) ding James for his poorly planned and executed "Decision" to leave Cleveland and go take his "Talents" to South Beach (Miami). Rightfully so. But I can't hold that against LeBron the player.
Dude is currently (this season) putting on a Playoff Performance for the ages. Back in Cleveland with a soon to be expiring contract amidst speculation he's going to leave again, LeBron has literally and physically willed the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals....for the 6th straight season.
Sunday night, he played all 48 minutes of Cleveland's ugly but effective Game 7, 85-79 win over the Boston Celtics in Boston in front of a raucous, standing room only crowd.
He scored 35 points, had 15 rebounds and 9 assists and averaged over 33 points a game for the series. Counting his time in Miami, it will be James's 8th straight trip to the NBA Finals. Yes, 8th.
The guy has played in every single game his team has played for the past 2 years. He's averaged over 40 minutes a game in the playoffs. At age 33, his 15th NBA season. That's insane.
Now, will James and his Cavaliers win another title this season? I don't know. The Cavaliers are a team that has a few talented players on it. Those players haven't exactly lit things up this playoff season. Whether they play Houston or Golden State (again), they'll be huge underdogs. And they should be.
But I wouldn't write them off either. For all of the talent out there in the West, there aren't a lot of people can match what LeBron is doing. Maybe Draymond Green of the Warriors. Outside that, the Rockets don't have a good matchup for him and the Warriors can contain, but can't totally stop the guy.
Since Golden State and Houston play Monday night (May 28th), LeBron will get an extra day of rest. He will get a chance to rehab and replenish his seemingly boundless stamina. Which is a scary thought.
Even if he somehow, someway wills Cleveland to a title this season, it won't change the debate. Even though it likely would be the guys greatest accomplishment, it won't change the minds of those who'll never look at what he's done and what he's doing with an open mind.
I'm reasonably certain the guy doesn't care. Nor should he.
I just hope he stays put after this season ends. He may not have the will and ability to take the Cavaliers to titles the next few years, but the legacy will look a little different if he ends up trying to struggle through his last couple of seasons with a young and still undeveloped Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks team.
Jordan's last couple of seasons took a hit too as a somewhat underachieving member of the Washington Wizards.
NBA Players should be remembered for what they accomplished, how they impacted the game and their legacy. It shouldn't be about who was "The Greatest of them all" or "Which guy was the best". Respect them all for what they've done. Appreciate the performances as they happen and admire the effort.
And at the end of the day just enjoy things for what they are. A form of entertainment and performance art not to be in your face arguing or making really idiotic internet memes saying one was greater than the other. You don't have to argue about it for the sake of arguing about it.
But then again, it's about the messages we take from talking heads that seem to drive the argument. Wonder if there is a correlation or reason for that?