FanPost

Lebron vs. Bird (and MJ)




Let me start by saying: I am not a Lebron hater.

I actually like Lebron James. He's a great player, and seems like he's a genuinely good dude. Yes, he has his faults, and has made his mistakes, but you have to give him his due; he is perhaps currently the best player in the NBA, and thus the world.

People have always wanted to compare LBJ to Jordan, which is both completely natural and remarkably unnatural. Natural given his anointment as "The Chosen One" at the tender age of, what, 16? (I'll tell you what: I don't know if I would have been remotely capable of his level of modesty, composure, and maturity if put in the same situation at that age.) We all have fond memories of Jordan, a player whose greatness knew no team affiliation or rooting interest. We forget the missed shots and the gambling and everything else, because hey, the man can fly. And Space Jam. And Nike. I could go on.

Unnatural because it's an unfair comparison for James; there will likely never be another player like Jordan, with all of the instant mythology and trailblazing endorsements and media presence. But it's also unfair because Michael Jordan did amazing things with his body, while airborne, that we had never seen with such regularity and precision of purpose. Lebron lacks the double-pumps, the up-and-unders, the levitation that made Jordan like a god among men. This is probably why LBJ realized that competing in the dunk contest would only create more of a gap between our perceptions of him and MJ.

But Lebron is still amazing. He has court vision, IQ, strength, speed, power, touch, a perimeter game, a low-post game-everything. You could come up with a million reasons to hate Lebron, but I like him for the most important one: I like basketball. And there are more reasons to, if not like him, then at least not dislike him, and there should be no debate about respecting his game and his dedication.

HOWEVER, lately LBJ has been more often compared to another legendary player: Larry Bird.

Now, there are hundreds of points to debate here, but I will only raise one: passing.

I have heard several pundits, all of whom should know better, say that Lebron is as good a passer as Larry Bird.

That is a false statement. Do we really even have to debate this? Larry Legend has eyes on the back of his head. He passed backwards, he passed through players' legs, he threw full-court bombs with pin-point accuracy; in short, he was one of the most creative passers ever to play the game, and like Jordan, did it with a regularity and precision that is, and always has been, exponentially rare. What MJ was to the drive to the basket, Larry was to finding the open man, no matter where he was or how he needed to get him the ball.

Suggesting that Lebron is as good a passer as Larry Bird is unfair to Bird and just plain wrong.

I'll hang up and take your response off the air.

Best Passing Team Ever

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