Dwyane Wade’s recent golf analogy comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan is by far the best I’ve heard. For those of you who haven’t heard the analogy, Wade used the holes on a golf course to describe the differences between Jordan and LeBron’s careers (Michael Jordan on the 18th hole and LeBron James on the 4th hole). By using the golf course to compare where each superstar is in their respective careers, Wade very clearly stated that LeBron James has a long way to go to catch Jordan. I find myself thinking maybe the analogy will cool off the constant LJ to MJ comparisons by analysts and sports writers every where. But probably not!
With that said there are two flaws with the analogy. First, since MJ’s career is over, he is more likely on the 19th hole with a Jack Daniels and Gatorade. Small flaw but I’m pretty sure that Wade does not have a prepared statement to compare Jordan and LeBron. The second flaw though is a little more significant. See, I believe that James will never be able to reach the 18th and fully catch up with Jordan because he skipped a hole!
Being a long time fan of the NBA, I remember the struggles that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls went through to get that first championship. They had to work their way through the same team and for three straight years the Detroit Pistons knocked the Bulls out of the NBA playoffs. That made it much more special when the Bulls finally beat the Pistons in 1991 to earn their first trip to the finals.
By beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan has accomplished something that LeBron never will. That is taking an NBA team that had never won a championship through the trials and tribulations of earning a Finals win. This accomplishment is as much a part of the Michael Jordan legend as anything else because it adds a transcendent value that stands the test of time.
LeBron James jumping ship and joining forces with the Miami Heat means he has missed out on that opportunity. He is by far the most talented player in the NBA. He is also sure to win more championships. But he will never again get the opportunity to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals win. Consequently, he not only cheated Cavaliers fans out of this, but the rest of us who wanted to see him earn a championship in Cleveland. Long term this will tarnish LeBron James legacy and hence he will never transcend the legend of Air Jordan.
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