Friday, June 01, 2007

'The Next.... Whoever'...

Did LeBron make the leap? Most of the time, I'd leave discussions for this up to people smarter than I in the realm of basketball. But I think this topic covers almost all sports, and therefore, I can weigh in.

There has been non-stop coverage of LeBron singlehandedly taking over game four against the Pistons - and with that, the ad-infinitum debate about if that was enough to make him the 'next' Jordan. He was anointed as the next possible Jordan when he made the SI cover as a junior in high school, but for most of his four years in the NBA, has not been THE dominant player as was expected of him.

Complete with the comparison to Jordan right down to having to go through the Pistons to get to a title shot, media types are trying to make sure that LeBron's career mirrors that of Jordan. And I'm getting a bit tired of it.

There's two issues here. One is - what if this game was an aberration? Even the single minded Bill Simmons points it out in his article ( but it took him 27 paragraphs to even think of mentioning it ) - even Vince Carter ( who once held the "Next Jordan?" mantle ) scored 50 in a playoff game once. Carter never came close to being the next Jordan. So why do we assume that cuz LeBron did it once, that he's now made the leap?

And secondly, why can LeBron be the 'Next LeBron'? No one will ever be like Jordan again. When Jordan came into the league, was he supposed to be the next Pistol Pete? At what point did we stop comparing Jordan to other people, and just let him be Michael? Why does LeBron have to replace Jordan? Will LeBron be better than Jordan? Who knows yet. We won't know for another decade. So let's just enjoy what he brings to the table. If it happens to be a few more games like last night - then great, lets enjoy it. Then dumbass sportswriters will talk 20 years from now about who the next LeBron will be....


At 11:54 PM, Blogger Will said...

What people are now starting to say is that he's a facilitator, like Magic. Not Michael.

Is he great? Maybe. He made some great shots that night. He lead his team. He did what he needed to do against and extremely bland and poor shooting Detroit team that never looked ready to play.

I can't tell. I just don't think basketball is as exciting, nor are basketball players today as talented as they were in the 80's and 90's.

The trend I see is big matchups tjat have one of the two contestants cave. Dallas caved to GS. Chicago caved to Detroit. Utah caved to San Antonio. And Detroit caved to Cleveland.

Not so hot for my favorite sport.


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