2013 NBA Playoffs: It’s Time To Stop Comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine you’re eating a delicious meal and you suddenly put down your knife and fork and begin comparing it to other great meals you’ve had in the past.

This may sound silly, but as LeBron James leads the Miami Heat to their third NBA Finals in three years, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

There will never be another LeBron James, there will also never be another Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robinson, Bill Russell or Michael Jordan. Each man was unique during his time. When I was a kid I never remembered people searching for the next big thing. When Magic played we enjoyed him, the fans and the media didn’t spend endless hours debating whether or not he was a better player than Oscar Robertson.

That seems like all we do now, compare Kobe to MJ, LeBron to MJ and Kobe? Why isn’t it enough to compare LeBron to his contemporaries?  The 24/7 news cycle forces news outlets to fill airtime, and people can’t seem to get enough of comparing yesterday’s legends to today’s All Stars. It’s a false comparison, both men played in different eras, under different rules, against different competition, but that doesn’t stop us. We talk about what MJ would do if he were in LeBron shoes, or how LeBron is bigger, faster and stronger than MJ.

In the end, we rob ourselves of greatness. A LeBron James doesn’t come around often, and we should be savoring every moment, but we can’t because we want to look back instead of looking forward.

It’s an exercise in futility to compare a finished work to something that is ongoing. Michael Jordan is the consensus pick as the greatest player of all time. However, none of us know if LeBron James will surpass him. Not unless you have a time machine and if you do, I hope you can find more important things to do with it. LeBron could win six more NBA titles or he could tear his ACL walking down the stairs tomorrow. No one knows, but we all pretend that we do. We don’t have the patience to wait and see where LeBron’s journey will take us.

To compare Jordan and LeBron, we must diminish one of them to make our point about the other. It’s not fair to either man. The LeBron James story is still being written. Let’s watch it and enjoy as opposed to making silly comparisons about a man who retired more than a decade ago.

We are watching greatness, stop comparing and enjoy the ride.

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