Cleat Geeks

NBA Playoff Greatness Jordan Or James?

He wears #23 in honor of one of the best NBA players of all time. One of LeBron James defining moments of this year’s playoffs was when he made a game winning shot in-game 5 of the first round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. There is a bigger point to understand when the playoffs come around and the moments never get tired.

James has played over 200 playoff games and is scoring just under 30 points a game, while dishing out 7 assists a game and is shooting just shy of 49% from the floor. Michael Jordan remains the only enduring test of James’ greatness and catching Jordan will be a monumental climb that is almost impossible. James should not focus on trying to dethrone Jordan’s playoff success, instead he should focus on what has made him successful on the NBA’s biggest stage.

The two terms, greatest vs. the best, sound very similar, but are none of the same and they are not wholly exclusive. Depending on the sport, the same person can take both roles. Best is largely about the ability of playing the sport when the stakes are at its highest. Best is more of a short-term, that can change after two or three years, where greatest is a legacy statement. While Jordan had arguably the greatest NBA career, it was made possible by his supporting cast.

There have been discussions about comparing James to Jordan and one of the distinct differences between the two is that James has taken his teams on his shoulders, especially in a Cavaliers jersey. In 2007, the Cavaliers made it to the finals against the Spurs, the odds of the Spurs winning that series were extremely high, but without #23 on the court or #23 playing at 50%, the Cavaliers would probably have not made the finals that year. In short, James has cemented his legacy by playing on a different planet with not as much talent to compliment him. To no one’s surprise, James rarely takes any time off in playoff games as he has been on the court for 40 or more minutes on average in all but two playoff seasons.

No matter how much he plays up to the moment, James will never be able to withstand the criticism of leaving the Cavaliers in 2010 to join a team that needed one player to win a ring never-mind two. There have been complaints that the NBA regular season doesn’t mean much and most of this revolves around James. However, this has been a brilliant strategy because he doesn’t play too many minutes in the regular season and while he wore a Heat jersey, LeBron was the de facto general manager.

Image result for michael jordan and lebron james

James plays basketball on a different planet and gives his team a chance even a remote chance to win a series almost single-handedly. What is even better is that in 2016, he won the Cavaliers a ring in-game 7 of the NBA finals by blocking a shot late in a tied game that was the momentum changer.

He knows his critics and some of their criticisms are fair, but you can not take away that James has been able to make the most of what has been given to him. He has had to carry a heavy load on his back in the playoffs and that has served as a motivator behind his playoff greatness.

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