The NBA pressed its face up to the maternity ward window that is the American high school basketball system, pointed at LeBron James, began passing out cigars and shouting, “That’s my baby!” The NBA needed a new Lil Baby to replace its old Lil Baby, Kobe Bryant, who was supposed to replace Michael Jordan. The NBA proclaimed its new baby “King” and hoped and prayed that the Cleveland Cavaliers would turn out to be the Chicago Bulls of the 2000s.
If we had a dollar for every Michael Jordan / LeBron James comparison that sportscasters are compelled to make (I believe they’re each required to make fourteen a game in order to retain their jobs) there would not be a national debt.
Although this debate was incredibly lopsided, it was “entertained” mostly by deluded fans conditioned much like Pavlov’s dogs to begin salivating the moment someone rang the “Who’s better MJ or LeBron” bell. And of course there were the children. Alas the children (for the children know no better) were entranced by the pixie dust The League was sprinkling over their innocent heads, bless their naïve little hearts.
So we find ourselves with two schools of thought. On one side of the line we have the poor disillusioned fools who still love and jock Michael Jordan like there’s no tomorrow, even after he revealed his true, petty, spiteful little self at his Hall of Fame induction (of all places). And on the other side of the line we have the poor disillusioned fools who still love and jock LeBron James like there’s no tomorrow, even after he revealed his true, selfish, Huggies pampered self at the NBA Finals post game press conference for Game 6 (of all places).
Just for clarification, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am not a Michael Jordan fan. I’m aware that thus far in this post there might have been some ambiguity regarding that matter, but I’ll just put it out there and clear the “Air” once and for all. Also, as much as this might shock you, I am not a LeBron James fan either.
Most people will always consider LeBron James to be the guy who abandoned ship. He will always be the guy who had the big bad wolf blow down his house of sticks. And to be fair, yes Chris Bosh did run to the Miami Heat from his own house of straw. But honestly, who truly gives a damn?
James and Bosh are hoping that they can build a brick home on the Miami estate similar to the one Dwayne Wade (and Udonis Haslem was there) built in 2006. A then underrated Wade was joined by a Shaquille O’Neal who at the time was the bigger name, but on the downside of his career and Gary “The Glove” Payton. Payton was also at the tail end of his career. Wade willed that team back from being down 0-2 to win it all.
Remember that what Lebron and Bosh are doing has already been done. Karl Malone and Gary Payton ran to the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers believing that their very presence alongside O’Neal and Kobe Bryant guaranteed a championship for The new “Lake Show” and its four future hall of famers. They were wrong. The Lakers were defeated by the less heralded Detroit Pistons.
The way it stands right now, Jordan has 6 championship rings. LeBron has the same number of NBA championship rings as me. To be fair, Jordan did have 3 years of college ball under his belt before entering the NBA. So let’s spot LeBron 3 years. If Miami can three-peat with the Three Kings, well then LeBron fans can say, “I wanna be like”. They’ll be half way to “Mike”.
LeBron has now played 8 years in the league. Jordan had won two championships by his eighth season and a third title in his ninth year. If Lebron plays at least 15 years (like Mike) or more he may still win a couple championships, but 6 or 7. I don’t think so. And that’s including when he comes to play his final two seasons with the Washington Wizards and they decide to get all “Wizards, King James, Camelot and the quest for the Holy Grail Championship” on us.
The bottom line is that in the NBA moving or acquiring one or two individuals can change the entire landscape. The Boston Celtics did this with their Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Even the Heat and Lakers teams I’ve mentioned in this post made it to the championship series. But people, it’s like an arms race. One team makes a move, another is going to make a move to counter. And believe me, there will be moves made to counter the Three Kings.
Will LeBron get 3, 4 or even 5 championships? Well there’s this guy out west named Kevin Durant and this upstart team called the Oklahoma Thunder that you might want to really start paying attention to. They may very well be the new San Antonio Spurs.
So what happens if LeBron never wins a championship? Don’t you worry, it’ll be alright. The League will find itself a new Lil Baby (*cough* Blake Griffin *cough* dunk contest rigged *cough* marketing ploy). It always does. Besides, we can always start the debate: Who’s better Michael Jordan or Robert Horry?