SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports Jeff Zillgitt breaks off Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, where LeBron James added another chapter to his legacy by guiding the Cavaliers past the Celtics in Boston.
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Since LeBron James completed a virtuoso Eastern Conference playoff run, which is considered the most impressive in his career, there were three prevalent arguments for why that was not good is time to reconsider his position against Michael Jordan in the GOAT argument.
The first, of course, uses Jordan's 6-0 record in the NBA Finals as a conversation endorser over James, who is 3-5 and will play a pretty significant role this time underdoging the Golden State Warriors. People who fall into this camp will never be influenced, and therefore will not participate in the conversation, no matter what James does for the rest of his career.
The second group claims that James's place in history is not yet written His career is ongoing, and therefore we do not have the full perspective of his achievements, which is accurate but an excuse We've got the ability as humans to re-evaluate things in real time.
And the third group just wants us to avoid the comparison with Jordan because, as they claim, we should just sit back and appreciate James for what he's doing in here And now is, somehow implicit A sporting argument is that we can not enjoy what he's doing in his 15th NBA season by hitting each other for the eighth time in a row.
I have only one answer to all these people: what are we going to talk about?
At a time when the same two teams will play in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, and the 2018-19 season will begin in five months. 25 of the league's 30 teams will be eliminated from the competition on Day 1. What could be more important? or relevant as the possibility that the GOAT discussion has shifted significantly?
The NBA is not a parity league. It does not give us any big surprises or underdog stories. We do not look back on seasons and championships like the NFL or even baseball and wonder how it all happened. In the NBA, the personality-driven soap opera, ranging from free agency to an 82-game season, merely sets the stage for a playoff that reveals the degree of grandeur we're experiencing.
In other words, identifying the greatest basketball player of all time is not just any endless argument you have in the neighborhood bar. That's all in the NBA.
Although I remember little things from all six NBA finals won by Jordan, it is difficult to pinpoint when it was thought to be the greatest basketball player of all time with little controversy. All I know is that it happened at a certain time when I was a teenager and formed the basis of how I represented basketball as an adult and my understanding of what it meant to be a historically big player.
These are really great things for anyone who has lived through them, and it's understandable why so many of Jordan's legends are so closely connected that they can not even grasp that James surpasses him.
But one of the most disturbing / revealing aspects of sports coverage in 2018 was the realization that every elite, NBA-bound basketball player in the last few years has no memory of Jordan playing in the NBA. With this sense of perspective, it's not just about accurately portraying the story, but being open to the Michael-LeBron conversation and consistently considering all the factors that will determine the LeBron-James era.
And that's why it's the right time for this conversation. If we are not prepared to rethink the ranking after James was just carrying this Cleveland team on his back, what are we doing here anyway?