“His greatness enrages people, but for what?”
Since being drafted into the NBA, Lebron James has remained strong over the past 15 seasons going on to win 3 NBA titles, 4 NBA MVP seasons, 14 All Star appearances, and a slew of other awards. But the topic in recent years have come up; is he better than Michael Jordan. And for those who grew up with MJ, such as myself, we tend to be more biased in the direction of Jordan. But sports is such a game of statistics, and your views of who is great varies. So why is it so difficult to acknowledge Lebron James in that conversation as the greatest NBA player over Jordan?
Imagine going to a circus of being privy to the best Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show ever. Then ten years later it was topped by something much more greater. The reason it’s hard for people to say the next thing is greater is because of a generational gap. We hate to admit something from a current generation better than those that came before us. We all like to think that whatever life we have lived can’t be topped. Nothing these eyes have seen could get better. And in all likelihood, I will reject the next thing. We dilute ourselves into thinking something can’t get better, and when it does we fight it. And there is an even a deeper why.
“Now don’t you ever, be sad, lean on me, when times are.” “When the day comes, and you’re down baby, in a river of trouble and about to drown.” “Just hold on, I’m coming.” For those who remember Sam and Dave singing this song back in the 1960’s, how can you convince them, “I’m your baby tonight,” by Whitney Houston isn’t as good. But Whitney’s fans will tell you, Beyonce is good, I’m your baby is better than, “Get Em Bodied.” We feel when we hear something that goes against or is seen as better it devalues our experience in childhood or early adulthood. The nostalgia moment of hearing Sam and Dave is hurt when Beyonce sells more. But we must understand, these two men paved the way for Beyonce to be greater. Same with Lebron and MJ, records are made to be broken. Understand there will be another MJ, if not better than the MJ you witnessed.
Ask a young teen or early adult about Charlie Chaplin, they know nothing about him. But they know Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, and Amy Shumer. Shocking that one of the greatest no one knows. Better yet, since this is a sports topic, ask about Jim Thorpe, Babe Ruth, or Jesse Owens. And this is another reason we fight the Lebron James better than Michael argument. Because enough time goes by, no one knows you ever existed. It’s not a sign of disrespect, it’s nature. No human is remembered forever, unless certain records become broken on a list, then you hear this person’s name again. We just want MJ to be eternal, and reality is, he’s not. He is meant to live, be great, and pass along like any other person in his position.
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