Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 10/11/12
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When Scottie said it, it was scoffed at and chalked up to jealousy. When Jim Boeheim said it, it was dismissed, simply a college coach speaking out of turn. When Charles Barkley said it, it was largely ignored, just Chuck being Chuck. Each statement made by these individuals simply suggesting that LeBron James may one day surpass Michael Jordan in terms of basketball success was recieved with complete rejection, denounced as basketball blasphemy.  There will never be another Michael is the common refrain, and many don’t want to see the recently-vilified James anywhere near that rarified air.  But then, Phil Jackson, the man of 11 NBA Championships as a head coach, and the mastermind behind Michael’s six championships, stated that LeBron has the tools to potentially be better than MJ one day.  What could people say?  This was Phil Jackson; the man knows a thing or two about talent, and has no reason to denounce his former prodigy in favor of a player he has never coached.  Phil sees in LeBron the combination of unparalleled ability on the basketball court and the physical features to play virtually any position on the court; a mixture to an extent with which the NBA has never seen before, MJ included. LeBron’s potential superiority is still far from an accepted fact, but Phil’s comments opened up the door for discussion, and why not.  He is only 27 years old and has already strung together some of the most statistically impressive seasons the NBA has ever seen.  His size allows him to rebound and assist in ways that Michael was unable, and his strength allows him to physically dominate on the offensive end, as he’s never averaged under 26 points per game, aside from his rookie year.  Barring any serious injury, which he has done well to avoid up to this point by keeping his body in tip-top shape, LeBron will almost certainly surpass Michael’s rebounding and assist totals, and if he continues at his current pace it isn’t preposterous to think that he could surpass his point total as well.  Sure he has a way to go with the Titles, but he also has time. Realistically there will never be another Michael.  The drive, the desire, the will to win, along with the impact he was able to have on the game, both internationally and on future generations all will remain unequaled, preserved forever in the annals of the NBA.  However MJ’s legacy does not prevent LeBron from having his own separate, similar, success.  The comparisons, although they will never end, are unfounded, as they are each great in their own way.  Michael was more of an alpha-dog, lead by example type of player; a guy who was more than willing to hike his shorts up and drag his teammates to the title.  LeBron finds his success more in bringing his teammates together, championing the team approach to the title, even if he often has to do much of the heavy lifting on his own.  The approaches are different, but is one necessarily better?  No Michael’s greatness will never be surpassed, or even equaled, but if LeBron continues to dominate the League in the same manner with which he has up to this point in his career,  don’t be too surprised to see history view these two side by side, as the game’s greats.  Technorati Tags: LeBron James,Michael Jordan,Miami Heat,Phil Jackson,Charles Barkley,Scottie Pippen,Chicago Bulls.
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