LeBron James Better Than Michael Jordan? I Don’t Think So?


By Gary A. Johnson

I want to be as fair as I can to LeBron James. He came into the NBA as arguably the most hyped and talked about high school athlete of all time.  He did not pronounce himself “King James.” The media put that crown on his head and for the most part this young man has worn it well exceeding almost every expectation.

Looking back there were signs of intoxication.  James chose to wear the No. 23 jersey.  Now I understand that move was to pay homage to Michael Jordan, however, that only serves to fuel the conversation that LeBron James is declaring himself the next Michael Jordan.

In terms of his off the court business moves, LeBron is coming close to being a global icon, some would say he has achieved that goal.

I am here to tell you any argument or comparison of LeBron James to Michael Jordan needs to STOP right now.  After the last two seasons of being knocked out of the playoffs, and particularly the way the Cleveland Cavaliers were bounced from the NBA semifinals earlier this week, there is nothing to talk about.

LeBron and the Cavaliers quit in the fourth quarter of their last two games.  Their last performance was worse than choking in my view.  When you choke you’re at least trying.

LeBron James is a great player—throughout the regular season.  At this point in his career, LeBron James has morphed into an Avatar built for ESPN and other sports stations highlight reels.

Comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordon is cruel and not fair to LeBron.  In fact, it’s probably a borderline call to compare LeBron James to Kobe Bryant. Jordan and Kobe never quit.

This is not to say that years from now, when LeBron’s playing days are over that he won’t eclipse both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but from what I can see, it’s simply unfair to do that now.

Michael Jordan has six championship rings.  Kobe Bryant has four championship rings.  LeBron James has none.  At this stage of his career the only measuring stick for LeBron James is championship rings.  So the question in my mind is this:  “Can LeBron James win a championship in Cleveland, Ohio?”

The Cleveland Cavaliers team have tried to surround LeBron with a cast of players but this efforts have fallen short.  I think it’s time for LeBron to move on to another city and get motivated with the only challenge that is keeping him from true greatness—a NBA championship.

I don’t want to hear any comparisons of LeBron James to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson or any other great player until LeBron wins a championship.  Outside of that STFU!

Let’s just wait until LeBron’s career is over and then we can accurately reflect on his entire body of work and then discuss his place in NBA history.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.

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5 Responses to “LeBron James Better Than Michael Jordan? I Don’t Think So?”

  1. Dashaun Huston Says:

    I disagree with your comment about the greatness of the King. Rings don’t put you in the conversation of greatness. Otherwise, Bill Russel would be the greatest and Chuck Nevitt could also be included in conversations. King James is a great player and his greatness is greater than Jordan. Jordan, Kobe, Bird, Magic…all had great teams. Cleveland has a team full of side show Bob’s led by the King. Now if you played the game, you understand that 1 man cannot beat 5. It’s a team sport. Until Lebron gets on a great team, with a great coach, he will not win a championship. Imagine Lebron on LA and Kobe on Cleveland. Do you really think Kobe could win? I don’t. But, I do believe LA would be ridiculous!!! 30, 7, and 7 pencil it in. Not even Mike had these numbers. Long live the KING!!! 6’8″ 260lbs with guard skills and athleticism.

    • Hey Dashaun:

      I can’t say that I disagree with the basis of your argument, especially the Kobe on Cleveland example. Don’t get me wrong. I think LeBron is a GREAT player. I agree that rings don’t put you in the conversation of greatness. I do think that is one criteria in the discussion. Charles Barkley and Karl Malone have no rings but they were GREAT players as well. I think it’s too early to say as you have that LeBron’s greatness is “greater than Jordan.” That may end up being true down the road, but for my money, not yet. Thanks!

  2. I agree black man. LeBron right now no where near as good as Jordan or Kobe. Both Kobe and Jordan made players around them better. They were leaders and players listen and followed them. LeBron is not a leader yet. Jordan and Kobe had decent talent around them but not superb. They willed their teams to championships. You can be a great player like a Karl Malone or Charles Barkley but to be a champion you have to have the it factor. Kobe and Micheal both had it. They didn’t care as much about the money or the marketing they cared only about winning that championship and did everything they could to will their teams to championships.

    Jordan and Kobe’s single mindedness to be the best and to max out talent of other players on their teams in order to win championships makes them on another plane than LeBron. Right now LeBron James is just a little more athletic version of Karl Malone.

  3. Eugenio Oliveira Says:

    So, Robert Horry is better than Michael Jordan. One more ring. Very intelligent analysis.

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