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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.

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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).
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January 23, 2021 | 8:06 pm EST Update

Timberwolves keeping Ryan Saunders for now

Ryan Saunders will remain coach of the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until he gets an opportunity to coach a stretch with star Karl-Anthony Towns in the regular lineup. “I haven’t even talked to (basketball president Gersson Rosas) about that — he hasn’t brought it up, but you’re asking me, and it’s probably hard to tell a guy that you aren’t doing the job when your best guy isn’t playing,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Saturday from his home in Mankato.
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For most of a year, Taylor has explored a sale of the Wolves and Lynx. How’s that coming? “Well, it’s not coming is the best way to say it,” Taylor said. “I haven’t found anything that for sure says I should move ahead.” Taylor’s price tag for the Wolves and Lynx is estimated to be in the $1.5 billion range. With NBA expansion — Las Vegas and Seattle have been mentioned — current team owners could each be in for a reported $160 million expansion fee windfall. “Obviously I’m aware of that — you’ve got to pick your time,” Taylor said, adding that no definite decision for expansion has been made. “The other question: Is now a good time to sell when you don’t have fans? And it’s not a good time.”
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