Dennis Rodman was interviewed on the Dan Patrick show, and the question came up of who is the better player between MJ and Lebron. There have been many comparisons since Lebron entered the league between him and Jordan, as there have been with a number of other big wing players who had similar skill sets to Michael.
“It’s really not a comparison. If LeBron was playing in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he would be just an average player,” Rodman said Friday on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “To do what Michael has done … what he did was more charisma, there was more articulating and stuff like that. LeBron is more like … there’s no flash to his game. He’s a great player, don’t get me wrong, he’s a hell of player, I’ll give him that. But to me Scottie (Pippen) and Michael are probably the two best one-two punches I’ve ever seen.”
Rodman, who played with Jordan from 1996-1998 and won three NBA titles, said that a 28 year old Jordan would average 40 in today’s NBA.
“LeBron came into the age of the game at a perfect time. Michael came into the game when back then you could hit people, knock them down, shoot a free throw and get back up,” Rodman said. “And LeBron can’t do that. All they do today is (complain) about a foul. All they do is (complain).”
When asked how his best Bulls team would fair against today’s Miami Heat Rodman replied:
“It would be no contest. The Heat has better talent than we had, but we had smarter players,” Rodman said. “That’s the only thing we had, smarter players. … I would take Bosh out of his damn game easy. That’s not even a problem. And how would Dwyane Wade match up with Scottie Pippen? Really? And Scottie Pippen would guard LeBron easy. And how are you going to cover those two guys (Jordan and Pippen)?”
While I agree with Rodman on some points there are a few I disagree with.
I agree with the fact that the Bulls team from 1996-1998 (with few minor changes each year) was one of the greatest teams ever and would probably beat this current Heat team. Similarly, each big three consists of a shooting guard, small forward and power forward. Each big three are and were seen as superstars in the NBA. However, defensively, I feel that the Chicago team would have a good amount of success limiting the Heat team. Also, those Chicago Bulls teams, coached by Phil Jackson (arguably the greatest coach in NBA history), were excellent in offensive execution. So I would give Chicago the edge.
I disagree with what Rodman said about Lebron being an “average” player in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s and not being able to handle a more physical game. With Lebron’s body type, skill set and will to win I believe he would have been very successful in any era. I won’t debate the fact that the league was a lot more physical then, but I feel like players adapt to the climate of the league at the time that they play. I truly believe if Lebron played when it was more physical, his desire for greatness would have made him embrace the physicality and learn how to adjust to it. Players complained just as much in that era about calls they didn’t agree with; and if they didn’t it was because the league wasn’t policed as much as it is now by officials.
All in all MJ and Lebron are both unbelievable talents. Michael is widely seen as the greatest player ever and as Lebron’s career progresses he will continue to be in the discussion as well.
Photo credit: www.zimbio.com