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Happy Thursday! In the never-ending saga that is the Los Angeles Lakers, a rare moment of good news: one of their own, a scrappy baller by the name of LeBron James, just managed to get past none other than Michael Jordan on the NBA’s career scoring list.
Yes, “Lebron vs. MJ” is the cheapest kind of killing-time-on-sports-radio argument, an easy heat check where everyone’s on the side of the guy they worshipped as a teenager.
But just for the sake of argument, what would it take to get MJ stans to change their mind?
LeBron: A victim of his own image
Thanks to the ongoing slow-motion Lakers implosion, everyone’s gleefully piling on LeBron right now, and he’s scrambling like a wide-eyed Eli Manning. The Lakers are in free-fall. James will almost surely miss the Finals for the first time in a decade and the playoffs for the first time since his second season in 2004-05. Fair or not, he’s taking fire for that, and it’s obscuring a simple fact: If you take rings out of the equation, he’s right there with Jordan.
What would it take to call LeBron the GOAT?
James tied Jordan with a fallaway jumper midway through the second quarter against Denver, passed him with a hard-fought and-one layup, and now stands alone in fourth place all-time. (Kobe Bryant, in third, is about 1,300 points ahead.) James has already totaled more minutes, games, assists, rebounds and blocks than Jordan. They’re virtually equal in advanced stats like win shares and PER. And with three to four more healthy years, James should catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the scoring list.
Jordan has those six rings in six attempts, and that’s something James will never match. But what if James ends his career as the NBA’s greatest scorer and adds a ring or two to his resume? Does that push him past Jordan? It’s an argument that will only keep gaining speed over the last few years of LeBron’s career.
The Raiders are the NFL’s team without a home, looking to crash on someone’s couch for a year, maybe two tops, and they promise they’ll kick in some beer money. So far they’ve been linked to San Francisco, London, Alabama and Arizona, but appeared to be staying in Oakland. Naturally, that deal is also in jeopardy. They’ll be begging high schools for field time soon.
Former GM Charley Casserly lit up Kyler Murray’s intangibles earlier this week, and if that criticism seemed a bit too convenient to you, you’re not alone. Murray’s agent torched Casserly, criticizing the ex-GM’s record and noting that Bill Belichick himself has little use for Casserly. This is gonna get much uglier before draft day.
It’s about the journey, not the destination. Wise words when you’re talking about life; disturbing ones when you’re talking about a baseball team. The Florida Marlins’ Derek Jeter is asking fans to enjoy the “experience” of a Marlins game, which will happen 81 times a year, rather than the destination commonly known as “winning” … which will happen far fewer times. The Marlins themselves will get to enjoy the “experience” of having fans in the stands every time they travel to a different town.
Shaking hands with the GOAT
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