There comes a time when all of us as people have to finally admit things that you otherwise may not really want to. I have found myself in that unenviable position and am ready to step up to the table and make the statement that has been incredibly hard for me to do for the last several years. So without further ado, here goes…
LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world right now. There, I said it and I don’t have any reservations about it either.
While Michael Jordan will always be the greatest player that I ever saw lace up the sneakers, that doesn’t mean that James can’t catch him in that regard with me. Even if he does earn five more titles I will have a hard time calling him better than Jordan but for right now, James is far and away the greatest player currently playing.
James and the Heat went into Madison Square Garden today with a 13 game winning streak. The New York Knicks sit atop the Atlantic Division and had won three straight themselves. In other words, this was a classic opportunity for the Heat to stumble. Consider also that in their prior two meetings this season, the Knicks had their way with Miami winning both.
This game was nationally telecast as well and when you’re in the world’s most famous arena, you tend bring everything you have and the Heat did just that. They defeated the Knicks 99-93 despite trailing by double-digits and having to endure a scare when James landed awkwardly on his left knee.
James was able to shake it off to finish with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Dwyane Wade added 20 points. This performance was what we expect from the Heat when it’s crunch time and their defense clearly displayed that. Sometimes the hardest thing to do for great teams is to manage and motivate your way through a grueling 82-game schedule that includes great teams that are far outnumbered by bad ones.
The Heat proved once again that when they absolutely have to they seem to find a way to get the job done at both ends of the court.
As far as LeBron James goes, there really shouldn’t be a debate as to his greatness any longer. If the lack of a championship was always the thing keeping him from the highest pedestal possible, then that is obviously no longer an issue. Toss in his performance at the Summer Olympics in London and you have yourself the best player on planet Earth right now.
I believe as many others do as well, that James is a much better athlete than Jordan ever was. Remember, James could have easily been a solid NFL prospect had he chosen that path. At 6’8″ and around 250lbs, his athleticism is truly amazing. Jordan’s playing weight was around 218lbs on his 6’6″ frame. Jordan struggled with baseball during his ‘absence’ from the NBA during the 1990’s and has never really become the golfer he has longed to be.
James is closer to Bo Jackson than than Jordan ever was and to me, there is no better barometer of that then watching James go coast-to-coast on an NBA court. As tremendous as Jordan was, no one goes end to end with the speed that James does and it of course is made more dramatic simply because of his size.
The one area that Jordan might always have on LeBron is in sheer determination and the desire to win. This doesn’t mean that LeBron doesn’t have it, it’s just that I don’t believe he has it to the degree that Jordan did.
Now that I’ve admitted LeBron is the best guy playing on the planet, I feel better. It was good to get that off my chest. And one final thing, never bet against LeBron the way we once might have in big games. He has learned how to use the dagger which makes him even more dangerous.