You've probably already seen by now the following quote from Michael Jordan. In a recent interview with NBA-TV, when asked whether he would pick LeBron James or Kobe Bryant as the better player, Jordan responded as follows:
Five beats one every time I look at it. And not that (James) won't get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.
Five is bigger than one. Hard to argue with that kind of insight. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I double checked his math, and he's correct, five is indeed bigger than one.
So without further ado, here is a partial list of other NBA players whom Jordan would rate ahead of LeBron James, based on this obviously all important overriding criterion (bearing in mind that two is also bigger than one):
Robert Horry (
- Derek Fisher (5 championships)
- Kurt Rambis (4 championships)
- Tyronn Lue (3 championships)
- Randy Brown (3 championships)
- Jud Buechler (3 championships)
- Bill Wennington (3 championships)
- Luc Longley (3 championships)
- Mario Elie (3 championships)
- Mark Madsen (2 championships)
- Adam Morrison (2 championships)
- D.J. Mbenga (2 championships)
- Beno Udrih (2 championships)
The list goes on and on. These are just a few of the incredible players who are clearly better than LeBron James. And might I add, that apparently LeBron James sucks, but not as bad as Charles Barkley and Karl Malone and John Stockton sucked back in the day. Those losers never won a single title, and I'm pretty sure that one is bigger than zero. One wonders what MJ would do if presented with the vexing dilemma of picking between Kobe and Fisher
and Horry. With his go to decision-making process taken off the table, it might get very tricky.
But Jordan's been making the tough decisions for the Charlotte Bobcats for years now, so clearly he's an incredible evaluator of talent.
Look, I'm only being half-facetious here. Obviously if Morrison never even played a minute of an NBA Finals game, never even put on a uniform during the Finals, then his two rings don't mean much. It is clearly important and a great accomplishment to be the best player on a championship team.
But guess what? Kobe WASN'T the best player on five championship teams, at least not according to the folks who vote for Finals MVP. Kobe rode Shaquille O'Neal's dominance to three of his rings the same way Fisher has ridden Kobe and Shaq to five. O'Neal was voted the Finals MVP on three of Kobe's five championship teams. Kobe did win Finals MVP twice -- including once for a series in which he shot 25% in the decisive Game 7. So there's that.
I'm so very tired of the Jason Segel method of player comparison, but it's not surprising that MJ would use it, since it helps his case.