Lebron is no Michael — Or Kobe for that matter

Lebron watches KobeRegardless of whether you think it was right or wrong for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to take advantage of Florida’s tax laws to stack a team, one thing is for sure…

No matter how many championships he may win, LeBron James will never quite be as respected as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Nor will Miami’s “Big Three” ever be as respected as Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Or Bird, McHale and Parish. Or Magic, Kareem and Worthy.

Why?

Because these NBA legends won more than just championships, their epic battles waged against worthy nemesises won respect, even from their opponents, and earned them their place in NBA history.

Because if sports was just about the outcome and not the journey, we’d all stay home and get the scores off the Internet.

Because being on top of a mountain earns people little respect, it’s the size of the obstacles they had to overcome in their climb that make these men so impressive.

Consequently, it is debatable whether James, Wade and Bosh will even be respected as much as John Stockton, Steve Nash and Reggie Miller, NBA greats who, while they never won championships in their careers, also never opted to hit the sissy easy button either.

Some people just don’t get the whole character thing, and rather than try, they just hate on those who do.

However, some people do get it.

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are all on record saying they would not have taken the short cut. All three of these NBA legends preferred to end their careers with less championships than they could have had, rather than do a Marvel Superhero team up to get more with a stacked team.

That really says something about the heart of a champion verses the heart of a short cutter.

Here’s another way of looking at this.

Imagine stacking a team with:

Guards: Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade
Forwards: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
Centers: Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh

Can you imagine any team in the world that could beat them?

And yet a team without a single NBA player, Greece, beat this team in 2006 (101-95).

TeamUSA even had amazingly capable backup players such as Shane Battier, Brad Miller, Elton Brand, Antawn Jamison, Kirk Hinrich and Joe Johnson. And “Redeem Team” coach, Mike Krzyzewski was at the helm.

How could a team like this lose, much less lose to a team lacking any NBA All Stars?

And just THINK about how similar the 2006 losing team was in personnel to the 2008 Olympic gold medal team. Both teams had:

Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Mike Krzyzewski.

So why did USA only win a Bronze medal in 2006, yet win in convincing fashion a Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics?

What is the difference?

Kobe helps Lebron upKobe Bryant.

In 2008, for the Olympics, Team USA added a man with a heart of a true champion.

Coach Krzyzewski said Bryant completely changed the team. He said that when the other players saw Kobe’s work ethic and competitive intensity, they were shocked. And shamed. Kobe caused every other player on Team USA to raise their own standards for preparation and work ethic.

Before Kobe, Team USA was a group of determined players who felt they should win because they were so great. After Kobe, Team USA was transformed into a team with the heart to do whatever it takes to win.

It’s hard to keep from smirking whenever you hear some passionate LeBron apologist talking about the sacrifice LeBron made when he took his talents to South Beach.

When Karl Malone went to the Lakers in 2003-2004, it was the very late twilight of his career — the last year he ever played in fact. And it was at a time when the Jazz had no hope of a championship. That is what a person with some character would do. And Malone only signed on for 1 year, and he did it for the veteran’s minimum salary.

There is nothing about Lebron’s situation that is comparable.

It’s not like Lebron James is old and on the verge of retirement.

It’s not like Lebron was stuck in a situation where winning a championship was hopeless.

Lebron James gave up on a team that went to the NBA Finals, and then went on to have the best record in the NBA two years in a row, and he appeared to have given up on the Cavaliers while still playing for them in the playoffs against Boston.

Lebron James is insanely gifted, and probably has more going for him physically than Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan did. Nevertheless, by pressing the easy button rather than stepping up to battle each worthy nemesis of his time, Lebron has now guaranteed his legacy will never be as awe-inspiring as the accomplishments of his would be peers.

Jordan and his first championship trophy

Jordan and his first championship trophy

I will forget my own name before I will forget how Michael Jordan earned his first championship. The world watched with reverent respect as Michael Jordan cradled the Larry O’Brien trophy like a rescued child, unashamedly crying in huge sobs.

There will be no such joy when LeBron holds his first trophy, not for America, and not for him.

James groupies can quote stats all they want, but all the stats in the world could never compensate for the evidence we now have that when it comes to winning, Lebron James clearly doesn’t have the heart of a Michael Jordan, or even a Kobe Bryant.

Neither of them would have reached for the Easy Button, much less hit it.

  1. AirlinesAirlines02-28-2011

    Your an idiot. The only reason you wrote an article like this is because you hate lebron for not chosing clevland. Another thing must i say about kobe is that HE NEVER DID IT BY HIMSELF! Kobe had shaq, who was avg. 30 points a game as a center and kobe also had other consistent players around him. Now when shaq left kobe’s team sucked and kobe wanted out until the lakers traded for ALL STAR pau gasol. You just look at rings and not talent. Kobe is good but not great. Lebron took his team from scratch and turned them into a winning team. Kobe knows nothing about that.

  2. Tom7Tom703-05-2011

    Airlines,

    Thank you for your juvenile, immature and laughably off-base comment. When you come here and act like that, you make it very easy for readers to spot the real idiot.

    When the Lakers added Pao Gasol, they added almost the statistical twin of Chris Bosh, and with that single addition, the Lakers went to the NBA Finals the next three years in a row.

    The Heat added Bosh and James, and time will tell how many titles the “super friends” will eventually win, but history will always judge Lebron as the superstar who quit on a team that had the best record in the NBA for 2 years in a row, and went to the Finals before that, and dumped them in an egotistical infomercial so that he could go where he thought it would be easy to win a title.

    By the way, Kobe didn’t have Shaq, Shaq had Kobe. On that team, Kobe was the “Pippen” of the Lakers and led the team in assists, and Shaq was the go to guy.

  3. PetePete05-07-2011

    Yea but excluding this playoff season Gasol is a much better all around player than bosh. Passing Low post scoring it goes on and on.Last year he was arguably the MVP of the Finals. Point is Kobe had the best BIG man in the league for all 5 rings. You could argue Gasol wasnt but he was top 3 for sure. Gasol has def been the best playoff big man in the last few seasons until this season for some reason.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/asher-smith/magic-and-jordans-lebron_b_654679.html

  4. inadequate maninadequate man05-09-2011

    Tom shut the BLEEP up no one gives a BLEEP i only watch the nba for lebron not to read yourr stupid BLEEP BLEEP.

  5. Tom7Tom705-10-2011

    [Laughing!] Thank you so much for your comments.

    Given that I am trying to write articles that appeal to intelligent people who actually understand the game of basketball, and not to obscenity spewing fanboys, your embarrassingly ridiculous blathering tells me I’m on the right track.

    All over the world, insipid pretenders like you pollute web discussions about sports, making it virtually impossible to carry on an intelligent conversation. In fact, people like you are one of the main reasons I started this blog.

    So thanks for stopping in and parading your deficiencies before the world.

    By the way, if this is your idea of defending LeBron James, well, frankly, you don’t make him look too good.

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