Sports and debate go together like apple pie and ice cream. Sure, you can have one without the other, but who really wants to live in a world without them together?
I myself was raised on ESPN’s First Take, a two-hour show featuring knock-down-drag-out sports talk between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. When Skip left for his own show at Fox a few years back, I was heartbroken, but the debates and hot takes rage on.
Number one centers around LeBron James and Micheal Jordan, and which is the greatest of all time, aka the GOAT. It’s undoubtedly the debate of all debates, and it’s not limited to Skip or Stephen. Everyone’s got an opinion on it, and most everyone is wrong.
Michael Jordan is a perfect 6-0 in the NBA Finals, but should that really be the ultimate measure of greatness? Boston Celtics great Bill Russell went 11-for-12 in the Finals, yet he’s never mentioned in the same breath as MJ.
Truth is, the 90’s are viewed by many as the best decade in NBA history. Jarrell Harris of Uproxx.com described the era as the golden age of basketball. But despite the parity with superstars and future Hall of Famers spread from East Coast to West, Jordan dominated. He and the Chicago Bulls won six titles in eight seasons from 1991 to 1998.
The knock on LeBron is his 3-6 record in the Finals, but there’s something to be said for doing more with less.
Twelve years ago, LeBron, 23, guided the Cleveland Cavaliers, a snake-bitten franchise prior to his arrival in 2003, to the Finals. Serious question: Can you name another player on that team? Despite the deficient roster around LeBron, they won 50 games in the regular season. In 2016, without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, LeBron almost singlehandedly took the Golden State Warriors to six games in the Finals.
Jordan of course played with fellow Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen most of his career.
On that note, I cannot defend LeBron’s failures in Miami. With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh by his side, there was no excuse for him not winning four straight NBA titles during his four seasons with the Heat. Instead, they only won two.
All I really know is that we’ve never seen a player quite like LeBron, who is undoubtedly the most athletic 6-foot-8, 250 pound man walking this planet. On the court, he’s the complete package. Off it, he’s not too bad, either.
Last year, LeBron opened his “I Promise” school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Their 240 students, who are described as at-risk third and fourth graders, received free tuition, uniforms, transportation, etc. And get this, after graduation, they’re guaranteed tuition at the University of Akron.
Yeah, that’s my GOAT.