Here we are in the middle of the NBA Finals and a debate rages. It is not about whether the Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs will win. It is not about whether Tim Duncan will win his fifth title. No, the question up for debate is whether Lebron James is as good as Michael Jordan. Let me settle this one: Lebron James is not Michael Jordan—he’s not even close. And I’m not even a Jordan fan. Michael Jordan was a once-in-a-lifetime basketball player. Lebron James is merely once-in-a-generation. In fact, I am not certain why this comparison persists in the media, at sports bars, and in living rooms across America. Actually, I do know why: The question of “Which athlete is better?” is one of the most consistently engaging debates sports fans have. We love the comparison game.
But so what if Lebron is no MJ? To get caught up in the comparison is to miss something important (and obvious). Lebron James is too good to not appreciate. This doesn’t mean we have to like him or root for him, but only a fool would fail to appreciate his greatness. No matter what you think of his history or histrionics, James deserves the appreciation of every basketball fan.
Comparisons are poison to appreciation. . .