JORDAN PLAYS his new favorite trivia game, asking which current players could be nearly as successful in his era. “Our era,” he says over and over again, calling modern players soft, coddled and ill-prepared for the highest level of the game. This is personal to him, since he’ll be compared to this generation, and since he has to build a franchise with this generation’s players.
“I’ll give you a hint,” he says. “I can only come up with four.”
He lists them: LeBron, Kobe, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki.
When someone on TV compares LeBron to Oscar Robertson, Jordan fumes. He rolls his eyes, stretches his neck, frustrated. “It’s absolutely … ” he says, catching himself. “The point is, no one is critiquing the personnel that he’s playing against. Their knowledge of how to play the game … that’s not a fair comparison. That’s not right … Could LeBron be successful in our era? Yes. Would he be as successful? No.”
Is this the beginning of jealous old Michael Jordan we’re seeing? Dude turns 50 and immediately starts flaming the best player currently on the planet. Do I agree with him that LeBron might have had it harder in the 90′s? Yeah, I guess. Are there only FOUR current guys who could have been superstars in Jordan’s NBA? Absolutely not.
Seems like Jordan has finally had enough of the media’s comparisons and is doing his best MJ thing to quell anyone thinking LBJ is on his level. And that’s fine. But Mike should stop talking reckless about how there are only four dudes who could make it in his time. One of the cbs commenters said it best: you can’t play it both ways. Everyone talks up the defense being better back in the day, but the scoring totals then were higher, too. Which one is it? Were they better defenders or better scorers? I can’t believe anyone who says it’s both.
LeBron James is not the same player as Michael Jordan. Yet the more MJ opens his mouth and gets defensive — especially going as far to say only .008 of the current NBA could be as good then as they are now — the more vulnerable he looks. And vulnerable is not a good place to be with LeBron James and the media that slurps him breathing down his neck.