Whenever LeBron James wins his first NBA title– whether it happens later this evening, next week, or down the road– comparisons with Michael Jordan will follow.
While there’s little doubt that LeBron James is one of the better professional basketball players of this generation, there is absolutely no doubt that Michael Jordan is the best player in the history of the game.
Michael Jordan’s six titles are only one element of his unprecedented personal resume which includes five Most Valuable Player Awards, 10 scoring championships, and 14 NBA All-Star game appearances.
Jordan could do it all, and love him or hate him, he made those around him better and always required as a leader that they play up to, and beyond, his expectations.
This point alone will continue to separate him from LeBron James regardless of whether the Miami Heat star delivers a title to his team, and the community in the coming weeks.
We’ve seen LeBron mature before our eyes over the course of the past few seasons. In his first full campaign in Miami, he struggled with deciding how to react to the “villain role” which was placed upon him, at first rejecting it, then choosing, however awkwardly, to accept it.
He’s just now learning what Jordan had– the ability to get the most out of one’s teammates, through whatever means necessary.
LeBron’s inability to do so in 2011 worked against LeBron and the Heat as the Finals rolled on and the Dallas Mavericks pulled away to win the franchise’s first ever NBA Championship.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have their backs against the wall this evening, and will have to play their best game of the series so far to avoid elimination and keep the hopes of their newfound legion of fans alive and take the series back to Oklahoma for game six.
If the Thunder continue to keep LeBron James’ dreams of winning his first NBA Championship at arms length, and extend the series to seven games, the nascent Jordan comparisons will begin to seem increasingly silly.
If Lebron and the Heat close the deal this evening, and hoist the trophy, you can rest assured that social media– especially Twitter– will explode with the comparisons between Jordan and James, regardless of how ill-conceived and baseless they still will be.
Jordan won six championships.
It’s possible soon that LeBron will have his first.
Simple math to me.
One delivered time and again, while another has only made promises which have fallen short.
Regardless of what the next few weeks bring, there’s a long way to go before the comparison between two of the greats is worth the breath taken up by the words.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.