From Jerry Stackhouse, to Grant Hill, To Vince Carter, to Tracy McGrady, to Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James, everyone has been trying to anoint the next MJ for fifteen years. The simple truth is that there will never be another Michael Jordan, but at the same time, there well never be another Lebron. They are both in a class of their own and have completely dominated the league in their own ways and in their own eras.
Lebron James is the best player since Michael Jordan, the most dominant and the most talked about, but they are completely different breeds. Yes, they have similarities, but the way they played the game and the way they carried themselves on and off the court are different.
Michael Jordan was the greatest scorer, competitor, leader and clutch performer of the modern era of basketball. He not only pushed himself, but others to greatness, he single handedly won championships and almost by himself made the sport what it is now. His greatness is unparalleled and he will forever stay a legend, but that does not take away from the greatness of Lebron James.
Sure, Lebron is not the shooter or pure scorer that Jordan was, or the natural leader, but his physical gifts, are unrivaled, even by His Airness. Jordan was the prototypical shooting guard and is the true definition of the position, but Lebron is a different animal.
He has the athleticism and explosiveness of Julius Erving, the passing skills of Magic Johnson, the rebounding prowess of a center and the ball-handling skills of John Stockton. He is as unique as they come. Sure Jordan had many of those qualities, but not at the level of Lebron.
Lebron will never have the intangibles of Jordan, but Jordan never had the complete bag of tricks of Lebron. Lebron was born to play the game, but Jordan forced himself to be great. Jordan led by example, while Lebron let the game come to him. Why compare the two?
No player has ever, or will ever possess the array of skills that Lebron has, or be the competitor and leader that Michael was. Yes they were both great athletes, scorers, defenders and the best players of their eras, but they were completely different players. The main problem is that they are both great and greatness is always compared to greatness. It is unlikely, Lebron will win six rings, or six finals MVPs, but he is the best player since Jordan and the best player of this generation. Yes, the Michael Vs. Lebron debate will rage until James retires, but please stop, you might as well compare apples to oranges, they are different players, personalities and competitors from different eras. I may like MJ more, but I prefer oranges, although Lebron and apples are not bad.