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Proof that James is not Jordan

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 11:17 p.m. CDT

LeBron James was carried off the court on Thursday, as he succumbed to severe cramps in the heat of Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs.

He missed the final couple minutes, the Spurs pulled away for a 15-point win, and the argument was finally over.

King James is not Michael Jordan.

Jordan would never leave a NBA Finals game because he was in pain. His will to win was too great for that.

He would leave his team for a season and a half so that he could pursue baseball, which probably cost the Bulls a chance at a historic eight straight titles, but that's different. Or at least better than leaving a game for being hurt. Right?

A few weeks ago, a Facebook post circulated about how Michael Jordan had 38 career 40-point playoff games, while LeBron has nine.

End comparison there. If points don't determine the overall value of a player, than what metric is there?

Forget that Jordan played in an era when scoring was up, in part, because teams weren't allowed to play defense. Remember the illegal defense call, because a team's man-to-man would look too closely like a zone?

Forget that Jordan was the best shooting guard in an era of great shooting guards. While he was a very good defender, he didn't often get assigned the task of guarding the other team's best player in crunch time. Much less was he asked to guard the best player whether that player was a guard, forward or center.

LeBron does those things. Just ask Derrick Rose how it turns out when James turns his defensive attention to you. But that doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter, because LeBron passes too much. Or whines too much (Jordan never bugged officials for calls, right). Or he has too many commercials. Or he doesn't sneak off to casinos between playoff games, or lose thousands of dollars on the golf course.

But what about the Decision? Yeah, that was a pretty stupid situation. But, not much more stupid than most programming on ESPN these days.

But how dare LeBron leave Cleveland? The place that offered him such great running mates like Shannon Brown and Drew Gooden.

Take a look at the 2007 Finals roster, and ask how many games that team would have won without LeBron. Oh wait, check out how many games that franchise has won since he's left.

But he should never have left a place not committed to winning. Jordan would have loved to play there.

Then to go to a place with a proven commodity like Dwyane Wade and added value with Chris Bosh.

Michael Jordan never left his organization – at least not in his prime. He didn't need other superstars to help him win titles and become the greatest.

Although let's ask one question, how many of you out there would pick pick Wade and Bosh over Pippen and Rodman?

The point being that there seems to be a great desire to look at one player through extreme rose-colored lenses, while the other player has every move and misstep put under a microscope.

Both are once-in-a-generation players boosted by incredible amounts of hype and publicity.

I grew up faithfully watching Michael Jordan win titles.

No matter how many titles James wins, or shoes he sells, it won't change my memories of Jordan.

And it doesn't offend me if James strives to be the greatest – he might fail, he might succeed. That's the point of sports.

But let's get one thing straight. One number. One game. One this, or one that, isn't going be the overall determining factor.

We are in the middle of the James' era. If you like basketball, enjoy it while it's here. The issue of legacy will work itself out later.

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