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  • 05/28/2011, 09:38PM ET

Scottie doesn't know...

fvkasm2x (193-58-12) vs baron. (28-12-2)
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that Fiona and me do it in my van every Sunday.

Great song aside, this is about Pippen's remarks about LBJ and MJ. Yes, another one of those threads.

I say it is both STUPID to compare these two players and that they aren't even comparable to begin with. You can argue that they are comparable or that it makes sense to compare them (or both).

To start:

1. You can't look at LBJ's NBA record at age 26 compared to MJ's at age 26. LBJ came straight out of high school. You'd have to compare them by their 8 seasons in the league.

MJ: 6 scoring titles, 3 MVP, 2 dunk titles, DPOY and most importantly TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS

LBJ doesn't have any of the last 3 things and nowhere near as many of the first two. As of right now, it isn't close if you compare careers.

2. You can't talk about "best of all time" and include a player 1/3 through his career. We've heard the next Jordan debates before. Remember Grant Hill and Kobe? Lebron may just be more talented than both those guys, but there isn't much sense in prematurely talking up LBJ on the all time list.

Hold the phone. Don't even mention their names together until further notice.


You want a "fair" comparison, but ignore that LBJ's 8th season isn't complete.

Personally, I think a comparison through age 26 would make more sense. There's a lot to be said for experience, and MJ had loads more (going to UNC and learning from Dean Smith).

I'm not going to argue that LBJ > MJ.

But that statistically he's the closest thing we've seen.

I'm going to ignore "dunk titles". That's irrelevant.

While MJ was the better scorer, LBJ is no slouch himself. He's currently 3rd all time in the career PPG list while being a better facilitator and using a lower usage rate (meaning he doesn't dominate the ball like MJ). And I wouldn't say having ONE less MVP award is "nowhere near as many". MJ will have more titles after 8 seasons, but the two will have played in the same number of Finals.

Yes, MJ was the better defender. But the gap is starting to close. When LBJ arrived in the league he didn't even have a defensive stance. Now we're talking about a guy with only 2 less 1st Team All Defensive selections (5 to 3).

LBJ:

27.7 PPG
7.1 RPG
7.0 APG
26.9 PER

MJ:

32.1 PPG
6.2 RPG
5.9 APG
29.9 PER

Looks legit to me.


There are so many reasons why it is foolish to compare the two, it isn't even funny.

3. MJ never left his team to go be 2nd banana somewhere else. He wouldn't just pick up and go join Isiah or Hakeem in order to win. He wanted to win because of himself. I love MJ, but the man was an egomaniac and had a competitive drive that we haven't seen the likes of very often.

LBJ quitting on Cleveland and going to Miami is something that MJ wouldn't have ever done.

You can't compare the two because of their personalities.

4. Comparing players across generations is hard to do in any sport. Talent is different. Medical technology is more advanced. Players are bigger, stronger and faster.

With this TD I'm not saying that MJ is the best ever. I'm not saying LBJ is a bum. I'm not saying LBJ will never catch MJ in terms of stats.

What I'm saying is that there isn't much point to compare the two, given all the points I've made so far. Why not at least wait until LBJ's career is over to start making the comparisons? They would hold more water.


MJ never left his team to go be 2nd banana somewhere else.

MJ also had a better team around him. There was no reason to leave. LBJ tried to recruit players (Bosh), but ultimately Cleveland isn't an athletes dream destination.

The comparison between MJ and LBJ goes deeper than stats.

Both could be considered the "best in the game" through their respective careers in the league. We like to compare the current best player to someone who was similar and considered best all time. LBJ to MJ makes sense in that regard.

Stylistically, at this point in their career they're also very similar. Both are slashers that defense's wanted to force into jump shots. Both are players that needed to progress their game to beat their rivals in the playoffs.

With that in mind, if you were to compare the two like you did in argument 1 (using the 8 season comparison): the progression of their games, the individual accolades, the statistics, the team success. All of it is fairly similar, and that's where the comparisons are born.

No comparison will be perfect, but LBJ is still the closest thing we've seen to MJ. And right now, that validates the comparison.


5. Making teammates better.

LBJ hasn't done this yet. MJ made Pippen a hall of famer and on the Top 50 players of all time list.

Do you honestly think Pippen would have either of those things without Jordan? When MJ left, Kukoc was getting the ball late in Bulls games. Jackson didn't even make Pippen his #1 when Jordan left. Who has LBJ made better?

LBJ needs other supreme talent to win, MJ needed a decent supporting cast.

6. Jordan was a global icon. The Space Jam movie and music video with Michael Jackson help prove that.

Do you see Lebron making a kids movie with Disney (or Pixar or whoever)??

I have no idea who the biggest music star is right now, but Jackson is/was a legend.

Obviously this has nothing to do with basketball skill, but it goes toward legacy. Jordan could very well be the most recognizable athlete of all time. All of this came BEFORE advances in technology.

We didn't have instant news feed when Jordan played, with the wires and cables of The Internets and The Google. He became a global icon in spite of the media limitations (compared to today).

Ali = Boxing
Hogan = Wrestling
The Babe = Baseball
Jordan = Basketball


MJ needed a decent supporting cast.

Which included 2 other HoF'ers in Pippen and Rodman. The closest thing LBJ had to that in Cleveland was All Star replacement Mo Williams and past their prime "stars"...

A lot of your 3rd argument compares what MJ became to what LBJ is now.

Was Jordan a global icon after 8 seasons?

No.

LBJ has helped a league with image problems gain popularity it hasn't seen since the days of MJ.

Not only was regular-season viewership of NBA games up 45 percent over the previous season, it was up 30 percent over 1995-96, when folks were obsessed over Michael Jordan leading the Chicago Bulls to a 72-win season.

http://tinyurl.com/3wnhflv

Looking at "The Decision" to the "Miami Heat Welcome Party" LBJ has generated interest from people that wouldn't have cared had he not become a controversial figure. It's a different type of attention than MJ, but attention nonetheless.

From the numbers, style of play, personal achievements, team success, and the attention that they bring to their sport, they're absolutely comparable (using a fair timeline).

Maybe Pippen wasn't that far off...

Good TD.

May 28, 2011  11:12 PM ET

This seems more like a rant, than a TD.

May 28, 2011  11:12 PM ET

Or maybe it's because I agree with everything you just said?

May 29, 2011  12:41 AM ET

Championships with team that drafted you: Jordan 6. LeBron: 0.
Number of teams before retirement: Jordan 1. LeBron ? (If the Heat don't win it all within three years, he bails). The Wizards thing doesn't count.

Case closed.

May 29, 2011  01:35 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Championships with team that drafted you: Jordan 6. LeBron: 0. Number of teams before retirement: Jordan 1. LeBron ? (If the Heat don't win it all within three years, he bails). The Wizards thing doesn't count.Case closed.

Why don't MJs retirements count as "bailing on the team" and why does his Wizards stint not count. By that logic, Kobe can never be as good as MJ because he never even played for the team that drafted him.

Lebron is not at the same level as MJ but I think people have made MJ into a GOD.

May 29, 2011  01:46 AM ET
QUOTE:

It's too premature batman, but Lebron could be the best ever.. the big word is "could"..

Exactly my point. It's too premature, so why bother? He isn't as good as MJ yet and he hasn't accomplished anything, so let's leave him be.

May 29, 2011  01:48 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Why don't MJs retirements count as "bailing on the team"

Well I supposed it depends on what story you believe. Either MJ needed time off because of the death of his father (understandable) or he was on a forced leave because of gambling (ridiculous, but I've heard it said). Either way, he didn't just decided to quit. And even if he did, he took them to 3peats twice in a row. What else could he do for them?

May 29, 2011  03:03 AM ET

Well, Scottie did play with Jordan, so he does have more insight on Jordan the player. If Jordan's scoring is higher, how many more shots did he take than LeBron? Last time I checked, winning Championships is a team thing, so that number is meaningless. Barkley & Malone don't have rings, but would you say Odom & Gasol are better Forwards? Stats don't always tell the story...

May 29, 2011  03:11 AM ET

People seem to forget that outside of the stats, the rings, and the fact that Lebron's career isn't over, that Jordan was a "winner". Jordan could not stomach failures (not that he didn't have them). He willed himself to win. He pushed (sometimes ruthlessly) everyone around him to be better. Are Wade and Bosh better from playing with LBJ? Or are they just three talented players playing together?

The intangibles are what make Jordan the greatest player ever. Well, that, and the stats and the rings...

May 29, 2011  03:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Why don't MJs retirements count as "bailing on the team" and why does his Wizards stint not count. By that logic, Kobe can never be as good as MJ because he never even played for the team that drafted him. Lebron is not at the same level as MJ but I think people have made MJ into a GOD.

Kobe can never be as good as MJ anyway, so moot point. Neither will LebRon either. LebRon shot himself in the foot by joining the heat. LeBron (sharing the ball with Wade and Bosh) will see his ppg wane in the next few years. I think he'll have a lot more 19 pt games than Jordan ever did. As far as a GOD, the man is easily the best player to walk through the courts of the NBA. So in that respect, his comparisons to God are quite fitting. His era of basketball was so much tougher, and went against must stronger compitition and still dominated. There is no other player like Jordan. Frankly, I don't think there ever will be.

May 29, 2011  03:15 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

People seem to forget that outside of the stats, the rings, and the fact that Lebron's career isn't over, that Jordan was a "winner". Jordan could not stomach failures (not that he didn't have them). He willed himself to win. He pushed (sometimes ruthlessly) everyone around him to be better. Are Wade and Bosh better from playing with LBJ? Or are they just three talented players playing together?The intangibles are what make Jordan the greatest player ever. Well, that, and the stats and the rings...

Very well said. LeBron is trying to buy his legacy by getting his buddies together and all joining the same team (which was planned by the way). Jordan created his legacy.

Comment #13 has been removed
May 29, 2011  03:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Can't go against MJ.Should I vote left already?

Ha! Unreal Boi. I'll wait for the 2nd arguments before I vote.

May 29, 2011  07:11 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Kobe can never be as good as MJ anyway, so moot point. Neither will LebRon either. LebRon shot himself in the foot by joining the heat. LeBron (sharing the ball with Wade and Bosh) will see his ppg wane in the next few years. I think he'll have a lot more 19 pt games than Jordan ever did. As far as a GOD, the man is easily the best player to walk through the courts of the NBA. So in that respect, his comparisons to God are quite fitting. His era of basketball was so much tougher, and went against must stronger compitition and still dominated. There is no other player like Jordan. Frankly, I don't think there ever will be.

MJ went against Hersey Hawkins, Hornachek, Elho, Drexler, and Brian Russell. That is not my idea of stronger competition. Dumars was the toughest defender Jordan ever faced and MJ was 3 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. How is that stronger competition?

Lebron plays against real ATHLETES, Pierce, Melo, Artest, Bowen, Kobe and Prince.

Think MJ would be able to handle guys like that? I know he can't, because Artest broke MJ's rib cage in a scrimmage. A dam pick up game!

Lebron would DESTROY those puny weak players that guarded MJ.

I think Lebron is better because he can do things MJ can't. Everything MJ did on the court Lebron can do. The only thing MJ did better, and not by much is shoot fade away jumpers. But given how many he took, I see why. Lebron is a better post player, passer, and defender.

MJ can't guard positions 1 - 4 and sometimes 5. Lebron can.

Basically, If Lebron had a HOF player on his team 3 years into his career like MJ had Pip. Lebron would have the same number of titles or more 8 years later.

MJ was a ball hog, pure and simple. Lebron is not. Lebron put up MJ's numbers while playing with scrubs 7 years and didn't hog the ball nearly half as much as MJ. While leading a D-league team to the finals. MJ didn't get to the finals until Pip grew into an all star.

May 29, 2011  07:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

MJ went against Hersey Hawkins, Hornachek, Elho, Drexler, and Brian Russell. That is not my idea of stronger competition. Dumars was the toughest defender Jordan ever faced and MJ was 3 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. How is that stronger competition?Lebron plays against real ATHLETES, Pierce, Melo, Artest, Bowen, Kobe and Prince. Think MJ would be able to handle guys like that? I know he can't, because Artest broke MJ's rib cage in a scrimmage. A dam pick up game!Lebron would DESTROY those puny weak players that guarded MJ.I think Lebron is better because he can do things MJ can't. Everything MJ did on the court Lebron can do. The only thing MJ did better, and not by much is shoot fade away jumpers. But given how many he took, I see why. Lebron is a better post player, passer, and defender.MJ can't guard positions 1 - 4 and sometimes 5. Lebron can. Basically, If Lebron had a HOF player on his team 3 years into his career like MJ had Pip. Lebron would have the same number of titles or more 8 years later.MJ was a ball hog, pure and simple. Lebron is not. Lebron put up MJ's numbers while playing with scrubs 7 years and didn't hog the ball nearly half as much as MJ. While leading a D-league team to the finals. MJ didn't get to the finals until Pip grew into an all star.

Those guys are the compition you throw? Jordan played in an era against the likes of:

Bird
Magic
Thomas
Barkley
Drexler
Wilkins
Robinson
Hakeem
Ewing
Shaq (in his prime)
McHale
Kemp
Payton
Malone
Stockton
Rodman

and so and so on. Also, there was hard play on the court. You even mentioning a boosted up role player like Ron Artest in the same sentence as Jordan shows me you have no idea as to what you are talking about.

As far as Pippen, he was never an All Star until Jordan MADE HIM one. Bottom line. It was Jordan's work ethic that rubbed off on Pippen, and took who was a good player and essentialy forced him to become the all star you mention. Pippen also had so many more oppertunities to do what he did as enitre starting teams tried to stop Jordan and couldn't, which let Pippen have an easier time on the floor.

And Jordan needed another HOF player to win? Ummm..... hate to break it to ya, but isn't that what LeBron just did by joining up with his buddies? Jordan had one HOF player (who didn't win sh-- once Jordan wasn't on the team) but LeBron has 2 of the best players in the NBA on his team right now, you're point is more of a slap against your own argument. As of right now the bottom line is this: LeBron isn't anywhere near MJ, and even trying to argue that he is, is a waste of time.

May 29, 2011  08:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Those guys are the compition you throw? Jordan played in an era against the likes of:Bird MagicThomasBarkleyDrexlerWilkinsRobinsonHakeemEwingShaq (in his prime)McHaleKempPaytonMaloneStocktonRodmanand so and so on. Also, there was hard play on the court. You even mentioning a boosted up role player like Ron Artest in the same sentence as Jordan shows me you have no idea as to what you are talking about. As far as Pippen, he was never an All Star until Jordan MADE HIM one. Bottom line. It was Jordan's work ethic that rubbed off on Pippen, and took who was a good player and essentialy forced him to become the all star you mention. Pippen also had so many more oppertunities to do what he did as enitre starting teams tried to stop Jordan and couldn't, which let Pippen have an easier time on the floor.And Jordan needed another HOF player to win? Ummm..... hate to break it to ya, but isn't that what LeBron just did by joining up with his buddies? Jordan had one HOF player (who didn't win sh-- once Jordan wasn't on the team) but LeBron has 2 of the best players in the NBA on his team right now, you're point is more of a slap against your own argument. As of right now the bottom line is this: LeBron isn't anywhere near MJ, and even trying to argue that he is, is a waste of time.

Out of all those names, only Payton and Drexler are decent defenders who would actually be guarding Jordan or Lebron, and these cats would get destroyed in todays NBA because they are puny.

Now you want me to believe that Pip is just some random fool spouting off at the mouth about Jordan. His locker was next to MJ's, they spent most of their careers playing together. What player in the NBA knows more about MJ than Pip? If he says Lebron is a better player, then I would give his opinion more credence than yours. Or mines. I didn't say he Pip said it, I am just agreeing.

Yeah stop wasting your time, because MJ didn't win or reach a finals until the Pip took them over the threshold. If it wasn't for Pip's defense, which allowed MJ to rest, the Bulls wouldn't have won or reached the finals. No PIP, NO rings.

Of course Lebron needed Dwade to win his first title, just like MJ NEEDED Pip. However since Lebron made the finals without Dwade or Pip, in his first 4 years, I say he is better because MJ couldn't do that. PERIOD.

May 29, 2011  09:31 AM ET

VOting left because I'm so sick of GOAT arguments when the games they play are completely different. To compare players the rules, the game and the environment has to be the same. It's not. LBJ can be the best of the most recent NBA era, but MJ was the best of his.
If you really want to get a GOAT argument, let's compare Larry Bird with Magic, Dr. J, etc.


You can all think LBJ is better than MJ. But I don't see the comparison, stats or not. The game has changed too much.

Comment #19 has been removed
May 29, 2011  10:08 AM ET

Even if Lebron James were to one day catch up to Michael Jordan in rings, production, etc., people would still never consider him better than Jordan simply because hating Lebron is the cool thing to do.

May 29, 2011  10:13 AM ET

Wow, this should be EPIC!!!

 
May 29, 2011  10:19 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

Now you want me to believe that Pip is just some random fool spouting off at the mouth about Jordan. His locker was next to MJ's, they spent most of their careers playing together.

Guess always hearing how great MJ was finally caused Pip to snap.

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