FanDuel - WFBC

February 18, 2005

At 20, MJ was no LeBron: King James has succeded Kobe as the bearer of the next Jordan burden and perhaps the greatest tribute to that kid is that you don't hear that question anymore.

posted by LROD to basketball at 02:39 PM - 34 comments

Already Lebron’s numbers are better than any other NBA player at that age including MJ’s when he was 20. King James is flying High and as long as he keeps practicing and taking the sport serious, keeping that flame within him burning for that challenge of being the best, staying out of trouble and of course injuries, I think he’ll flight as high as MJ. Who knows probably one day we’ll say: His Airness and King James the best Basketball players ever…. His Airness King James

posted by LROD at 02:40 PM on February 18

At 20, MJ was in a North Carolina Tar Heels uniform.

posted by holden at 02:56 PM on February 18

I'm really sick of the neverending parade of "no, THIS guy's the next Jordan. OK, no this one." That sort of thinking is killing NBA basketball as a team game. Why can't Lebron James just be a good player? Why is it that any time someone looks even remotely promising, we have to start building pedestals?

posted by cobra! at 03:05 PM on February 18

yo cobra no one have beaten jordan success hes still the man check his stats out for us comparing kobe or james to jordan is they dont only need championships rings. they more mvps's in certain areas for defender, rebounder, and assistants can u dig it

posted by dhdefrag3x at 03:28 PM on February 18

For the Lebron/MJ ying, we need a Joey Dumars yang. Any one particular player keeping Lebron under is averages the way that Joey D. did to MJ? *That's* the guy I'll cheer on.

posted by NoMich at 03:30 PM on February 18

"Ying"? What an idiot. "yin"

posted by NoMich at 03:31 PM on February 18

yo cobra no one have beaten jordan success hes still the man But you're missing my point. This superfocus on one great player destroys the concept of a team game. Ask Kobe Bryant how well the Great Man theory of basketball works. I'm not disputing Jordan's stats. But, then, I don't watch basketball for stats.

posted by cobra! at 03:36 PM on February 18

LeBron has better NBA numbers at age twenty. MJ had better college numbers at age twenty. I had better numbers than both of them in my dorm intramurals at age twenty.

posted by dzot at 03:44 PM on February 18

Cobra, I'm not sure about your point. You don't think that there was a "focus" on Magic? On Bird? That certainly didn't ruin the team game. Was there a focus on Chamberlin? Or can you name the rest of they guys on Old Wilt's teams? The team game survived for years after he left. And besides, we're not even hyping a selfish player. Lebron passes first and scores second. Maybe if we were going overboard on a Kobe style player you could say it's bad for the game. But hyping a guy like Lebron is not going to diminish the game, period. If anything it will put a player doing it the right way up on a pedestal. Anyway, this whole thing is a no-brainer, just like the article says. Lebron is bigger and better than Jordan was at 20, but he has a whole lot left to prove before he'll be the best of all time. We should all agree that the odds are long that Lebron will have a career like Michael's even though the talent appears to be there.

posted by mayerkyl at 04:13 PM on February 18

Sadly, I am currently lacking a shovel.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:14 PM on February 18

Oh, I'm definitely not saying that individuals have never stood out. But I think that there's been a change in approach. My read (and this is pretty subjective, since I was playing with Star Wars guys for most of the pre-Jordan years, and can only look at that NBA in retrospect) is that a team based on 1-2 stars and a supporting cast used to be an anomaly in the league; now it's the norm. And that sucks. There was an article in the NYT last weekend that summed a lot of this up better than I'm doing.

posted by cobra! at 04:23 PM on February 18

Here's that article.

posted by cobra! at 04:24 PM on February 18

Oh No! The return of Solokove! But he hates the NBA! No he doesn't he's just frustrated with the current bunch of non-jump shooting dunkers! Yes he does he's regressive! No he's not, the NBA is trying to solve the problems he's stating! Yes he is, he's a malcontent who can't let the sport evolve! I hate you! No, I hate you! (we hashed that one out, me thinks) Lebron, if nothing else (and I'm against any MJ comparisons especially when at age 20 you simply can't have any - they don't exist) seems to be living up to most of the hype. His will be a great career to watch, but he absolutely needs the rings to make it near Jordan's plateau. This is something that will only make any sense in retrospect.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:52 PM on February 18

and I'm against any MJ comparisons especially when at age 20 you simply can't have any - they don't exist) You can't have comparisons? They don't exist? Hmmmm, seems to me that you can, and they do. You may not agree with them based on the fact that Jordan and Lebron weren't playing at the same level at age 20. But then that's a comparison right there, now isn't it?

posted by mayerkyl at 05:24 PM on February 18

I would suggest that any comparison would be foolhardy - however, it would be possible to compare their respective rookie years, since it's the only season Lebron has completed. But again, the point is that comparing a career that has ended with one that has just begun isn't necessarily going to produce any viable conclusions. And a lot of cats had impressive rookie campaigns that never were never repeated, numbers-wise. Personally, I think Lebron has a chance to be great, but to start in with the Jordan-talk is a little premature.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:36 PM on February 18

agreed.

posted by mayerkyl at 05:41 PM on February 18

Personally, I think Lebron has a chance to be great, but to start in with the Jordan-talk is a little premature. which is why when i heard that espn is planning to do a sports century piece on lebron i nearly threw up.

posted by goddam at 06:00 PM on February 18

Lebron is not the next Jordan. he's the first Lebron. indisputable.

posted by gspm at 06:42 PM on February 18

Yesterday LeBron shot 10-19, scored 26 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 8 assists... and I remember thinking "hmmm, I wonder why he had an off game?" (He had to be helped to the locker room in the fourth quarter with flu symptoms, but returned after getting fluids.) The guy is amazing individually AND he makes his teammates better. The MJ comparisons are premature and the SportsCentury thing is ludicrous, but the guy is damn, damn good.

posted by dusted at 08:42 PM on February 18

Certainly Lebron James is not Jordan and for sure he will never be…Jordan was one of a kind and for as long as basketball exist that is how is going to stay. Lebron James is a great and very exciting player to watch and even though people are comparing his #’s to those of Michael Jordan, he will never be that one for whom we cherished and even try to imitate on the court. MJ’s style was unique and we all know it, even his archenemies admit it. His Airness carried basketball on his shoulders so it will be unfair to put Lebron James or any other player in that position, but at the same time he does remind us of the golden days when MJ used to delight us with his charisma and unbelievable moves which by the way brought the game to a new level worldwide.

posted by LROD at 09:10 PM on February 18

Lebron James is King James and the other guy... Well we'll always call him: HIS AIRNESS!

posted by LROD at 09:14 PM on February 18

Lebron = Lebron. Why not enjoy him instead of looking for a Second Coming? Do we realy need to stick our fingers in the wounds?

posted by yerfatma at 09:58 PM on February 18

Can we at least wait until Lebron wins one ring before having this discussion? I realize that Jordan was in the league for a number of years (5 or 6?) before getting his first so that might postpone this kind of talk until the next decade but so what?

posted by billsaysthis at 10:07 PM on February 18

Darko has a ring. Who is Darko the next one of?

posted by gspm at 10:29 PM on February 18

gspm, you're drinking, right? It's Friday night so I understand.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:41 PM on February 18

Darko has a ring. Who is Darko the next one of? Tree Rollins?

posted by crank at 10:10 AM on February 19

Certainly Lebron James is not Jordan and for sure he will never be… It's inevitable that a player will come along who eclipses Jordan. When you consider the kind of numbers Lebron is putting up in his second season, I could easily foresee a career of Jordan-like greatness in him. It's certainly too early to declare it impossible. No one would have thought Michael Jordan was going to be called the greatest of all time in his second season with the Bulls.

posted by rcade at 01:04 PM on February 19

Jordan had his time to shine and now LeBron will have his. but Jumpman is still # 1.

posted by Me719 at 01:51 PM on February 19

It's inevitable that a player will come along who eclipses Jordan I would agree that it's inevitable that a player will eclipse his numbers, but they'd have to do a hell of a lot more to eclipse his greatness. Too many other factors to guarantee that title, and it's a debatable pedestal at any rate (ther are some who argue that Shaq is more of a player who can take a franchise further, faster). Predictably while no one foresaw Jordan's greatness in his second season, a great many are taking that position in Lebron's. Each to his own time, I suppose.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:10 PM on February 19

Can we just deal with the real important question: Can Superman beat up Batman????

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:33 PM on February 19

Can Superman beat up Batman???? No but Mighty Dog can take them both. At the same time.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:59 PM on February 19

I would agree that it's inevitable that a player will eclipse his numbers, but they'd have to do a hell of a lot more to eclipse his greatness. True, but I say that as a 37-year-old whose appreciation for the NBA began with Bird and Magic. Today's 17-year-old probably thinks of Jordan the way that I think of Wilt Chamberlain: My dad says that guy was awesome.

posted by rcade at 05:58 PM on February 19

No but Mighty Dog can take them both. At the same time. Do you mean Mighty Dog, or Underdog? Mighty Dog is a brand of canned dog food; Underdog is a rather pathetic superhero. He's also the float that, IIRC, is most likely to get unruly and escape its handlers in the Macy's parade.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:20 PM on February 19

LBB, I meant Mighty Mouse. He always saves the day. Or my bacon, whichever is on the line.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:53 PM on February 19

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