Tag: Michael Jordan

London Olympics Basketball Men

After coaching LeBron, Jim Boeheim is not sure Jordan is the best he’s seen


The year of redemption for LeBron James is reaching dizzying heights now. NBA MVP, NBA champion, NBA finals MVP, gold medal all in one year. His arc is reaching the highest of heights.

And the praise keeps pouring in for him. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is stepping away from USA Basketball after serving as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for a decade. He has seen the evolution of LeBron from the guy Jerry Colangelo considered not inviting to Beijing to the unquestioned leader of the gold medal team in London.

Boeheim was on the Colin Cowherd show on ESPN Radio and his praise of LeBron went so far as to compare him to the guy currently on top of most “greatest ever to play the game” lists (via The Big Lead, who listens to Cowherd so you don’t have to).

“He’s a leader. He gets on the court, he tells people what to do … this guy can guard five [positions] … put him on anybody, he can guard him. I always felt Michael Jordan was the best player I’ve ever seen … I didn’t think it was close … and I’m not so sure anymore … this guy is 6-9, 260 pounds and he’s getting better … I know we’ve had great, great players through the years. He’s like Magic Johnson with Michael Jordan-type skills as well.”

LeBron has not near equalled Michael Jordan’s career accomplishments. Nobody sane suggests that he is. But he is starting to reach the full potential of his ridiculous talent and that might be compared with anyone.

The question was never LeBron’s talent. Physically on the court he has had the skills to be mentioned with Jordan and Magic since he set foot in the league. His game was always more Magic or Oscar Robertson than Jordan, but Jordan is the greatness benchmark for the next generations.

The question with LeBron has always been about the maturity and the competitive fire — he has never burned as hot as Jordan. Or Kobe. And in Cleveland LeBron still seemed to be about having fun and being around his guys more than winning. That’s at least how it looked outside his tight circle.

But he has evolved in Miami. Maybe it is he is now 27, no longer 21. Maybe it is Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, more serious minded guys. Maybe it is Pat Riley. Most likely it is a combination of all of it and more.

But for the past year LeBron has started to live up to his potential and the sky-high expectations on him. And those who are close to him to see what he has evolved into, even veteran guys like Boeheim, are taken aback by what he has become.

Charles Barkley says Drexler was always jealous of Jordan

Clyde Drexler plays defense

Clyde Drexler has been back in the spotlight, in because the entire 1992 Dream Team is back in the spotlight, in part because he’s said some outrageous things.

Through it all, Drexler has come off as a little bit bitter.

He sounds frustrated that the Dream Team was about Jordan and Magic and Barkley and not him. Charles Barkley, speaking frankly on the “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 (does Barkley speak another way?) said yes, that’s pretty much right.

“I think Clyde has always been jealous of Michael (Jordan), to be honest with you,” Barkley said…. “I think he’s always wanted to be compared to Michael.

“Hey, we all want to be compared to Michael, but we’re not. Clyde was a great player, but there was always that jealousy of Michael. That was one of the incidents and things about the Dream Team, Clyde was trying to play like it was Game 7 against Michael, and that’s probably not a good idea. When Michael is driving his kids to school, he thinks it’s Game 7.”

Drexler has denied saying that the Dream Team pitied Magic Johnson and was “waiting for him to die” but the author Jack McCallum told PBT he has it on tape. It may have come out different than Drexler intended it to sound, but he did say it.

Drexler was undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation — an NBA champion, a 10-time All-Star, a guy who averages 20 points a game for his career. A deserving Hall of Famer. But he’s not Jordan or Johnson. He’s just not. Sorry.

Deron Williams wants no part of the Dream Team vs. 2012 debate

US Roster Basketball

It’s easy to get sucked up into the debate. It’s compelling, right? The best team arguably ever assembled, but held up in spite of the vast differential in athleticism, conditioning, and speed of the game. The modern team held up as a contradictory juxtaposition, a contrarian’s dream, with Kobe, LeBron, and KD at the forefront.

The debate over who would win in a match of the Dream Team ’92 vs. “We Wish We Had A Name That Rhymed With Team” Team ’12 has broken out over the headlines, with even Michael Jordan himself stepping down from the heavens and taking a break from ruining the Bobcats to chime in on how his guys would destroy the pups, and Kobe Bryant going right back at him, a sign in and of itself of how Bryant considers himself in Jordan’s context.

(Think about that. Who else is going to go right back at Michael Jordan in the press? LeBron James isn’t doing it. Allen Iverson wasn’t doing it. Only Kobe Bryant would have the audacity to question the GOAT and sound reasonable doing it. That’s Kobe.)

But in reality, it’s a ridiculously dumb question. Forget all the impossibilities in trying to really evaluate two sets of players out of their own eras. Forget the injury questions and who gets who with what injury erased. (If today’s team gets Dwight Howard back, does the Dream Team get Larry Bird at full strength?) Forget the fact that this argument has no discernible conclusion and more importantly, absolutely no impact on anything real or imagined in this world.

It’s the Dream Team. You’re not fighting reality here. You’re fighting legend. It’s like trying to say “Yeah, Paul Bunyan could chop down a lot of trees, but check out this new forestry machinery we invented! You could actually be able to dwarf a 60-foot-tall man’s production, but guess what? He still has a giant blue ox and you still have a thresher. You’re not winning that fight in public discourse.

One member who understands the power of the reductionist argument? Deron Williams.


And that’s it. “That team was the best ever.” Williams is as fierce a competitor as anyone. After all, he turned down more money to play in a smaller market… wait, no that’s not right. Just kidding. But Williams isn’t going to back down to anyone. And yet he knows that this isn’t a conversation you can win. It’s not about who the actual better team is. It’s just about that perception.

And in that realm, the Dream Team are undefeated.