Jay C. Brandriet
Stephen A. Smith knows his NBA. He also has a nice grasp of the MJ/LeBron G.O.A.T. debate. Today he said something that is not fair towards LeBron’s budding case.
He was calling out Isiah Thomas for not acknowledging that James did not have to play in the more brutish eras in NBA history.
He said that, “LeBron can’t be the G.O.A.T. playing in the softest era.”
Regardless of who your greatest is, here are some reasons that statement has flaws.
You play who’s in front of you. It’s the best basketball league in the world. It’s not James fault what decades he fell in.
LeBron will not play in one era. His longevity will make it more like three.
LBJ has not lacked elite competition.
It’s true that the NBA has had much more physical, hard nosed time periods.
This era has more skill, and more shooters. This era has more daily media pressure. The players of today were inspired by, and semi copied the players of the past. These would be the same role models from the generations Stephen A. referred to as tougher.
James would be just as good in any era. Any superstar caliber player that’s existed, would find ways to adapt to the time they were in.
You realize Wilt would tear the league limb from limb today right?
Jerry West would be just as clutch in 2005.
You know Jordan would have averaged 39.7 points this last season?
You get Russell Westbrook would bully the guys of the 1970’s right back, and would be running wild?
LeBron in the 1980’s would simply adapt to the day. I picture his defensive versatility being one of his more obvious traits. I could see his rugged, Karl Malone/Buck Williams side coming out. He’d score less and be Defensive Player of the Year twice. He’d be LeBron, in slightly different form.
I’m not suggesting that WHEN you play doesn’t have importance.
I’m saying the era LBJ played in, is not a G.O.A.T. debate factor.
Jay C. Brandriet