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Adams: LeBron is no MJ, and that’s the way it should be

Adams: LeBron is no MJ, and thats the way it should be

As if Cleveland’s LeBron James needed anything more to solidify himself as one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA, he outdid himself one more time on Sunday night with his 37-point, 18-rebound and 13-assist performance against the Hawks. According to ESPN (the king of obscure statistics), James was the first player in NBA Playoff history to put up those kinds of numbers, putting him above the rest in that regard.

Ever since James entered the Association, he has been compared to the GOAT in Michael Jordan. After his performance on Sunday night, James improved his already-impressive resume, giving LeBron advocates another source of ammo when arguing with their sports buddies about who the better player is between the two.

Whenever a great player comes through the league, Jordan is automatically the first person that people compare him to, and that is because before James, he was widely, if not unanimously, regarded as the best player to ever play the game.

But it’s time to stop that. Let’s rid ourselves of the Jordan analyses and start comparing each great player that goes through the NBA to players that actually have a similar style.

Now, let me be clear. I am not arguing that Jordan isn’t the greatest of all time. I still think he is, and I can’t really think of a player that I’d rather build a franchise around more than Michael Jordan in his prime. He could shoot, score, play defense and was the ultimate winner. I mean, going 6-for-6 in the NBA Finals with six Finals MVP awards? You can’t argue against success.

So no, I’m not a Jordan hater. I mean, how can you hate the guy who gave us “Space Jam”? But the two players are completely different. Just because James didn’t model his game after Jordan, like say Kobe Bryant, doesn’t mean that he is any less of a player.

To be honest, I’m not sure there is an athlete in NBA history that you can really compare to James. But in my opinion, the better comparison is Magic Johnson, who may be considered the best player to ever play if it wasn’t for his career being shortened by HIV. Johnson was a 6-foot-9 “point guard,” but could guard just about any position defensively (anyone else remember that game he started at center in the Finals?).

Thanks to him playing at the point, Magic was a much better passer than Jordan was or James is, as he averaged over 11 assists per game throughout his career, but James isn’t far behind. Not only does he hold the record for most assists by a frontcourt player in NBA history, but the court vision that James possesses is that of one of the best point guards to play the game, and he’s four to five inches taller than the average point.

Between having similar size and similar point-guard instincts, there’s good reason to believe that Johnson is, in fact, the better comparison for James than Jordan.

Given, Magic wasn’t the best scorer, which would make Jordan a better comparison to James in that aspect, but that’s just the point I’m trying to make — there is no cookie-cutter mold to be the greatest player of all time. There are aspects of Jordan’s game that makes him the best, like scoring and winning, and there are aspects of James’s game that can put him over the top, like his passing and willingness to make the best team play possible.

So please, stop with the silly comparisons. Whether it’s LeBron, or maybe Andrew Wiggins, or some kid in southern California that we’ve never heard of yet, there will never be another Jordan — or another James, for that matter — and that’s the way it should be.

But the question still remains, who is the GOAT? Well, that’s up for you to decide.

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