That’s been a debate for some time.
“Mike did all his championships on one team and guys wanted to play for him,” retired NBA player, John Starks told me on Scoop B Radio
“Scottie [Pippen] and Horace [Grant], he kind of raised those guys. Later on when he got back, other guys like [Dennis] Rodman and [Ron] Harper joined the team.
“Mike didn’t move around, didn’t want to move around. He wanted to play against the best. He felt like he didn’t need to go chase players to join his team to beat the best because he felt like he was the best, and I think that’s the difference. I think that’s probably going to hurt LeBron when you look at it in that perspective against Michael, [Larry] Bird and Magic [Johnson]. Those guys stayed with one team, and they won with that team.”
“I think it’s the fan’s argument, not the player’s argument,” retired NBA Hall of Famer, Julius Erving told me.
“So I stay away from it. My all-time greatest player is Kareem Abdul Jabbar.”
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I discussed that topic with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.
LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan
One of the most interesting things which set Jordan apart from LeBron, along with the rest of the NBA, was his intense killer instinct, which Deveney detailed below.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You wrote “Facing Michael Jordan.” When you look at Michael Jordan then and you look at what the league is now, when it’s all said and done, where do you compare him and LeBron James when talking about legacy.
Sean Deveney: “The number of stories that I got that when I was writing that book. Steve Smith told me a story, Antonio Lang told me a story, Grant Long told me a story. They all had this theme, same sort of message and that was that if the Bulls were losing and if something wasn’t going well; if there was somebody on the other team who ran his mouth, talking some trash, Michael would open his eyes and just outscore them, which led to Bulls wins.”
“And it might’ve been a boring January game, a number of stories that are like that are similar to that. It is incredible and I think that’s something that is a gene Michael Jordan has that LeBron just doesn’t.”
“To me, that’s really the difference and it’s not to say LeBron doesn’t care about winning, I don’t think anybody works harder than LeBron, but there’s this crazy killer instinct that Michael Jordan had that I don’t think anybody could really match. And he matches I mean not on that level bad at least not on the level where his skill is so that the combination of that competitive instinct on that scale I don’t think Michael Jordan will ever be matched.”
Wild 2019 NBA Free Agency & Best NBA Draft Class
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You’ve been around basketball since 1997 interning [and working] with Sporting News and you’re now with Heavy. You’ve been around a long time – literally from Jordan’s exit to Iverson’s second year, to LeBron and the Warriors. This past summer was probably one of the craziest free agencies ever. What was the biggest challenge for you reporting this past summer than any other year?
Sean Deveney: “You know probably the biggest challenge was the speed in which everything was happening. Obviously, the Kawhi [Leonard] thing took its time but that was the only thing – everything else moved quickly. It’s a lot to keep up with, the summer of 2010 was a bit crazy, but that’s the only thing that’s comparable. But even that isn’t really comparable.”
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: 1996, 2003, or 2010 what draft class which is better?
Sean Deveney: “I think the 2003 draft I don’t think you could possibly say enough about the 2003 draft class and I don’t just mean that for the talent that was in there you have to look at where basketball was before that draft class and what happened afterward that draft class I really don’t want to say saved the NBA but it brought the NBA to a different type of height.”
“It was just the talent level, but the quality of person that was involved there. You know, we talked about Carmelo [Anthony] you know – never gotten any trouble or anything like that … there were no negatives to around Carmelo Anthony. Dwyane Wade what a positive NBA Ambassador he’s been all over the globe. Of course LeBron, Chris Bosh really just those guys did so much for this game that maybe you had more depth or talent in some other drafts – I just don’t think that draft what it did for the league. Maybe go back to ’84 but certainly in the last 30 years, I don’t think you can find a better draft class than that.”
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You know what’s crazy about that 2003 NBA Draft? Luke Walton was drafted that year if I’m not mistaken.
Sean Deveney: “That’s right. You have some very good players. You had Kirk Hinrich who played 13 or 14 years. Nick Collison was in that draft class, he played a long time. David West – he was supposed to be a lottery pick. He wound up dropping, but you know he played a long time in the league. Josh Howard with the last pick by Dallas. Minnesota lost its pick because of the shenanigans with Joe Smith, so there’s only 29 picks in the first round: Josh Howard, Kendrick Perkins were in that draft. But you really do have a stacked draft. The reason that I think it’s such a good draft is just the headline guys and what they were able to do for the NBA.”