LeBron James

LeBron James: Stop with the player comparisons

The best basketball player in the world is sick of being compared to the top basketball players of previous eras.

In the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 117-103 over the Orlando Magic on Monday night, LeBron James joined Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to rank in the top-25 for both points and assists. And after the game, James voiced his frustration in regards to the constant comparisons to Robertson and other NBA elites, as written by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“I think what we get caught up in, in our league too much, is trying to compare greats to greats, instead of just accepting and acknowledging and saying, ‘Wow, these are just great players,'” James said after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 117-103 win over the Orlando Magic. “I think in the NFL, when you talk about great quarterbacks, they don’t really compare great quarterbacks. They say, ‘Oh, Joe Montana is great.’ You know, ‘Tom Brady is great. Aaron Rodgers is great. Steve Young is great.’ [Terry] Bradshaw, all those great quarterbacks, they never compare them as much.

“But when it comes to our sport, we’re so eager to say, ‘Who is better: Oscar or [Michael] Jordan?’ or ‘Jordan or LeBron or Kobe [Bryant] or these guys?’ instead of just accepting greatness. And if you understand the history of the sport, then there is no way you could ever forget Oscar Robertson. This guy, he averaged a triple-double for, like, forever.”

James really could not have said it any better. We constantly compare every great basketball player to former great basketball players, rather than just acknowledging the accomplishments and talents each player brings to the table.

Additionally, it is nearly impossible to accurately make conclusions about “James vs Jordan” or “James vs Robertson” given the different eras the players performed in. The way the game is played is always changing (we’ve never seen a playing style like the 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors result in a championship), the training is always changing, and the aspects of the game we value are always changing.

There won’t be another Michael Jordan. There won’t be another Oscar Robertson. And there won’t be another LeBron James. They all have their own unique talents, statistics, and incredible careers. Can’t we just acknowledge that rather than always having to compare them to former greats?

Unfortunately, with the popularity of social media and sports debate television shows these days, the answer would seem to be “no”.