"Always remember others may hate you. But those that hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself." --Richard M. Nixon
By the time you reach your hump day destination at the watercooler or barbershop or some other social setting there is little doubt that the Michael Jordan vs LeBron James debate will take center stage—relegating the June Season 2 premiere of Power, the season finale of Scandal or the June expiration of the Patriot Act to the back pages of importance—the latter being worse than the ACT and the author.
The on-the-court debate is a fairly easy one…, Jordan is the best player to ever lace them up—and this is coming from a Knick fan.
He is 6-0 in championship Finals runs and his tenacity to get it done is beyond question. LeBron, who has a losing record on the Final’s stage is probably more gifted due to his size, speed and his desire to make everyone around him better (ala Magic Johnson). Jordan’s approach to teammates was more like "get it done" when I need you or we’ll find someone else to replace you—and I may bone your wife in the process (I told you I was a Knick fan).
I remember when Jordan was asked to voice his feelings on a number of subjects: Chicago teen murders (with the victims missing nothing but their air and their Air Jordans), the unemployment rate, racial discrimination, unfair housing, lack of minority owners (in all sports), and all Jordan could muster up was…, “Republicans buy shoes too” An obvious attempt to not anger the hand that could possibly feed or hang you. LeBron appears to be different; and for me, that’s where the real debate begins and ends.WHO THE SHOE FITS, LET THEM WEAR IT
The year before James left the Cavs the unemployment rate in Cleveland was roughly 12.3% (and that’s just for the people that hadn’t given up yet). Naturally, you will need a much bigger calculator to account for the unemployed blacks in the same zip codes. Upon his return, the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%. Now only an idiot would think LeBron James (alone or at all) had anything to do with either.
But, it would take a bigger fool to NOT understand that King James has a lot to do with where the employed spend their money. The Cavs’ ticket prices have gone up 15% since the rebirth of James and the average attendance has gone from just over 17,000 per game, to an arena capacity of 20,562 or $129 Million more annually. The one year difference [alone] pays James' contractual obligation to the Cavs. Talk about an ROI.
In fairness, Jordan's numbers are probably similar—especially on the road, where he rarely played in front of a non-capacity crowd. But, when Jordan left the Bulls for the Wizards (2001) I don’t think any major stores, car washes, restaurants, hotels, or parking decks batted an eyelash, never mind closing down entirely. One could argue that fact says more about the (respective) cities than it does about the actual players. But, you also get the feeling that it would ONLY matter to one of the players.
I mean, let’s face it, one player wore an “I Can’t Breath T-shirt” in protest of the Eric Gardner murder in NYC and the other player seemed more concerned with the shoes the cop had on when he killed him.
Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech sounded like he will be waiting outside for his doubters.
LeBron’s memo regarding his return to Cleveland sounded like a high school baller asking the homecoming queen to go steady.
Jordan once bet Pippen (his best friend on the Bulls at the time) a grand that his (Jordan's) bags would come off the plane first. What Pippen didn’t know was, his good pal, Jordan paid a baggage handler $100 dollars to make sure his bags came off the plane first. Jordan made a grand (extra) that day. Pippen said the money wasn't nearly as important as the revelation of the character he lost it to.
I think Jordan is the greatest basketball player that ever stepped foot in the NBA, but there is something about him that just makes you feel like the community lost a bet.