***The blog below was originally posted on 2/14/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/ The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.
Wow, since I wrote my recent blog about ESPN’s Colin Cowherd’s insane mission to tear down Michael Jordan while building up LeBron James, (Click Here), the Herd has only become more obsessed with the subject. Today, I heard him talk about the prospects of the two playing in a one on one. He talked about a majority of fans saying Michael would win. The Herd dismisses this as fans liking Michael more than LeBron.
He suggests we take the emotion out of it, and he poses this question: “what if I asked you who would win in a one on one between person “A” and person “B”? Person A is bigger, faster, stronger, and oh by the way a better ball handler”. (Nice sarcasm Herd. Is sarcasm an emotion?) Of course, person A in this fantasy example is LeBron James.
The Herd also states on many occasions LeBron is a better rebounder and passer than Michael. (Though he still claims to think Jordan is the better player.)
Here is the problem with the Herd’s “A” and “B” scenario. He leaves out a big part of what makes Jordan, Jordan. Even if I cede all of the Herd’s other points, lets now say player B is more clutch, handles pressure better, and has more intangibles. And just to be clear, player B is Jordan!
If the one on one were played in a local YMCA, with nobody watching, I would give LeBron a chance. I’d still take Jordan, but LeBron might be able to keep it close. If the hypothetical match-up were held in prime-time, on national TV, and on a neutral site like Madison Square Garden in New York, or the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jordan would win easily.
From his sometimes disappearances late in playoff games, late game free throw shooting percentage (and his hesitancy to go to rim late in games because of free throws), and never hitting a walk off shot, his abilities here are far from elite. LeBron is unquestionably awesome, but that type of pressure is not his thing. He certainly doesn’t measure up to Jordan in this category.
Further, LeBron has never entered an NBA dunking contest in his career.
This doesn’t make sense considering his ability and desire to build a billion dollar global brand. Something dominating a dunking contest could have helped. I can only speculate that he weighed the risk of losing as outweighing the gain of winning. What other stars of his caliber, ability, and name, have passed on the contest their entire career? I don’t think he could take the pressure to win despite the fact he would have been a worthy favorite.
True, it is fair to say the book is still open on LeBron, as his career is in progress, but any inference he could take Michael in a one on one now is premature.
I’m going to end this blog with an example comic book fans might enjoy. The Incredible Hulk and The Thing, (from The Fantastic Four), are two or Marvel Comics physically strongest characters.
They fight a lot. The Hulk always wins. (At least back in my collecting days). However, there was one storyline where their minds switched bodies, and in this issue, The Thing, with the Hulk’s mind, won the fight. The moral of the story is The Thing always had the physical tools, but lacked the mental abilities, whether it was courage, belief in himself, ability to handle pressure, or smarts, etc., to beat the Hulk.
Staring each other down in their prime, I know Michael would have the belief, down to the core of his being, he could win. He would easily handle the pressure. Do you think LeBron would have that same belief and be able to handle the pressure just as well? I don’t.
Update: Here is who Magic Johnson thinks would win between Michael and LeBron. (Hint, the Herd might not want to read) Click here.