How dare Charles Barkley go on live television and insult the greatest player of all time. Recently, Charles went on Open Court and proclaimed LeBron James to one day surpasses Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. Its opinions like this that infuriate me; since when did Charles Barkley become qualified to compare any player that wasn’t a power forward? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve respected Barkley long before his days of old in Houston; back when he was a force to reckon with in in Philadelphia. What irritates me about Barkley is that he would have the nerve to compare his co-star of the legendary movie Space Jam as being surpassed by LeBron. We as sports can’t take Barkley serious. Likewise, I’m sure Jordan couldn’t take this guy serious. You take a guy with the caliber that Jordan has, and tell him about the comment that Barkley made, and you would a hysterical laugh followed by a “seriously dawg”? If it’s any consolation, Barkley has been repeatedly dunked by Jordan in his career. The man also lost to Jordan in the NBA finals. Barkley will go on for the rest of his life knowing that Jordan was the guy that kept him from winning an NBA championship when it was closest to him. Could this be the thoughts that fueled such thoughts? The only thing we know is that what said was stupid.
Now take that opinion of Barkley, and compare it to Shaq’s quotes on Dwight Howard. In the same episode of Open Court, Shaq went as far as saying that Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum were better centers than he was. Shaq went on to say that Lopez and Bynum were better center because they stuck to the traditional style of big man play, while Howard practiced the European style of center basketball. Again, this is another stupid opinion made by a veteran that I’ve respected. How one go as far as saying that certain centers play better because they still play old school? Since when did a certain style of play truly separate players? At the end of the day, isn’t it all about the numbers? Isn’t that all we really care about. Not giving Howard his justice due because he plays face to the basket isn’t fair by any means. You never heard of older centers like Kareem Abdul Jabar or Hakeem Olajuwon crapping on Shaq because he couldn’t shoot a free throw. It’s a known fact that Shaq has had it out for Howard for some time now, ever since he won his first dunk contest and nicknamed himself “Superman”. Once again was it not Shaq who went around giving himself ridiculous nicknames based on the city he played in? Does anybody remember the “Big Cactus”? My point here is that there is a thing as uneducated opinions. With that being said, should we really take these opinion seriously, even though they’re coming from guys of whose careers we as fans have learned to respect?
Think of some of the comments made by respected NBA players over the years. It has been a fact that NBA players say stupid crap on the mic. What NBA players say such controversial things knowing the consequences? True, there is a lot of publicity at the end of the tunnel for these players. However, there is no amount of publicity that should make one say stupid things simply because “that’s what they feel. There should be no need to actually want the spotlight so much that you will sell yourself out because what you’re saying sounds good. I really wish that our respected NBA players would learn when to keep their mouths shut, and when to say important, smart things. If you’re going to compare player, don’t compare players using the same logic that we’ve been talking about for the past eight years. LeBron will never be better than Jordan, period. The argument should end there. As far as natural ability goes, LeBron is a freak of nature. However, also understand that LeBron is playing in a whole different NBA than the one Jordan played in. there was a lot more physical play. Likewise, while Jordan was given plenty of calls in his years, a lot of times the refs simply let the players play; it was the way things were back then. LeBron plays in a day where players are soft, defense is weak, and refs call games like it’s powder puff football. LeBron nearly gets any calls that he wants. The point is, LeBron would have a tougher time being the king if he played in Jordan’s era.
As far as Howard goes, I believe without doubt that he is the best true center we’ve had in the league since Shaq. It’s not fair to compare a guy to players that he could beat any day. Howard brings a level of dominance to LA that will certainly make guys like Kevin Durant and Chris Paul think twice before going in the paint. Can one really say that about Lopez or Bynum? While both players are very good, neither possesses the defensive stance that Howard has. Therefore, I say once again, NBA vets should really think twice about what they say before they say it. The only thing that stupidity does to NBA fans is piss them off.