Joyner agrees that if there’s a comp for James, it isn’t Jordan. “People bring up the Michael Jordan and Kobe [Bryant] thing, but it reminds me more of Wilt [Chamberlain],” Joyner says. “There’s this overpowering physical force. The way he gets up and down the court, pinning shots against against the backboard while playing well over 40 minutes a game. The sort of physical force is just wild.”
The image of James sitting in what amounted to an ice tomb while being showered with praise by his peers may not do James' greatness justice. What he's doing at 33 years old is essentially uncharted territory for any kind of athlete—in any sport. "The sports-science community is just in awe of this guy," says Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, one of the world's leading experts in human performance and physiology. "People should just recognize what they're watching in LeBron. It's different than Jordan. People need to get out of Jordan this, Jordan that. LeBron is different."
Joyner isn't alone. Dr. Marcus Elliott, the Harvard-trained founder and director of P3, has assessed the biomechanics of some of the best athletes in the world at his state-of-the-art lab nestled along the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Players from Andrew Wiggins to Andre Drummond to Dwight Howard to Luka Doncic have come through Elliott's lab to find out where they score on 3D motion-capture and force-plate technologies. While he has yet to assess James, he knows what he's seeing. "He's hit the quadruple lottery when it comes to genetics," Elliott says from afar. "Not just the physical side. You can't get to where he is without being head and shoulders above the competition from a mental standpoint. It's clear he just owns a different system than, say, Michael Jordan."
JLEIII: Doing radio has allowed you to stay close to the game and watch LeBron at his absolute best. Where do you stand on the Jordan vs. LeBron debate? Rick Mahorn: I got to go with LeBron James. The reason why? LeBron James plays five positions, and that’s when it becomes really scary. Who can check him? He plays five positions. Jordan could play three, at best. … You have to respect what Jordan did. He’s a beast at what he did. Would he be able to play in this era of basketball? He’d probably get to the foul line more than these guys playing get to it now. To me, some guys revolutionized the game or changed the game, and I think LeBron is a game-changer. So is Jordan. Jordan was a game-changer. But if it’s me picking, you can’t find many people who are 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, and can play every position. That’s scary.
Pippen joined ESPN's "The Jump" on Friday to respond to Isiah Thomas saying last month on NBA TV that he'd pick James over Jordan. After calling out Thomas for "hating" on Jordan, Pippen explained why he doesn't like comparing James to his former teammate. "Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever put on shoes and play in our game. No doubt about it," Pippen said. "I'm always asked questions to compare him to LeBron. I try to make the best of it, but really, the comparison shouldn't ever be made. They both play two different positions.
"The way LeBron James play - Michael Jordan was never asked to play that way, because I took that away from him. I was the point forward. I was the facilitator. Michael Jordan was a scorer. He was a defender. He played the game as complete as LeBron James did when he needed to, but he was asked to score the basketball and that's what he was great at." But if he had to choose between them, Pippen would go for Jordan every time. "There's no game that I would ever play in and pick LeBron James over Michael Jordan," he said. "Not if I'm trying to win."
We constantly hear about Jordan being a spotless 6-0 in the Finals, but we don't hear that Jordan was 6-7 in getting to the Finals in his 13 postseasons, while James is now 8-4 in his 12 postseasons. "This is my eighth trip to the Finals, and I've had some pretty good ones in my day," James said after his team bowed out in Game 5 Monday night.
LeBron James is now above Michael Jordan in one very important, objective area. On Thursday night against the Boston Celtics, LeBron passed Michael Jordan for the most playoff points scored in NBA history. James’ historic moment came in the third quarter of Game 5, with the Cavaliers up by double-digits.
Even though Michael Jordan retired in 2003, the debate over whether he was better than LeBron James still dominates NBA talking points seemingly every day. As a result, there are plenty of opinions to go around. Count retired Detroit Pistons big man Bill Laimbeer among those who thinks James is better than Jordan. "I'll take LeBron James, absolutely," Laimbeer said to Etan Thomas on The Rematch podcast (h/t Marlowe Alter of the Detroit Free Press, via USA Today).
February 25, 2021 | 2:03 am EST Update
A person familiar with the league’s thinking told The Washington Post that there have not been serious discussions about changing a logo with which the NBA is comfortable. League officials felt happy, as did Bryant’s family, about the way it chose to honor his memory with the MVP award for its All-Star Game, the person said.
In his Instagram post, Irving shared an image of Bryant dribbling with a ball laid over the logo in a way that resembled the silhouette’s pose. The image was identical to one used on a Change.org petition last year that asked the league to “immortalize [Bryant] forever as the new NBA Logo.”
Although the NBA’s goal is to have every team play its scheduled 72 games, sources said the league is cognizant of the fact that all 30 teams might not be able to reach that number. There is limited flexibility within the schedule to add games, or to add dates on the calendar, as the NBA wants to get the playoffs completed on time before the scheduled start of the Olympic Games in late July.
Jim Eichenhofer: Brandon Ingram, after being asked how he views not being All-Star: “I took it as motivation. Of course, I’ve got to be self-aware, and say that if it was questioned, maybe I’m not doing enough. Maybe I need to get more wins. I’ll be good enough to not have it questioned anymore.”
“I was happy for some of the first time All-Stars in Zach LaVine, Julius Randle,” Shaw said. “He was a player that I coached in L.A. He has gotten better and better every year. I thought that maybe Damian Lillard should have gotten a starting nod. (I’m also happy for) Jaylen Brown, a guy that played at Cal, who I’m familiar with in the Bay area. For him to get an All-Star nod, I thought that maybe he should have gotten one last year.”
Josh Lewenberg: In regards to Siakam sitting out the 4th, Nurse said he liked what he was seeing from the group that was on the floor, thought they were hanging in/making runs and wanted to change up the rotation in the 2nd night of a back-to-back, could do that more often in 2nd half of season.
The Utah Jazz blew out the Los Angeles Lakers 114-89 on Wednesday, setting an NBA record for total 3-pointers made in consecutive games in the process. The Jazz hit a combined 50 3-pointers in wins against Charlotte on Monday and the Lakers on Wednesday — 28 against Charlotte and 22 against the Lakers.
Those Spurs had three surefire Hall of Famers with extensive championship experience in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, not to mention a budding superstar in Kawhi Leonard. One of the primary reasons skepticism about the Jazz persists among rival scouts and executives is because they lack proven star power that the Lakers, LA Clippers and Eastern Conference favorite Brooklyn Nets feature.