Written by Sabine Démosthènes
MONTREAL – While I’m taking a sip of my really hot green tea, I’m asking the question that every basketball fanatic has asked of themselves (maybe not while drinking tea)…..
I put a little twist on the question to spice it up.
If I had to choose between LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and MJ (aka Michael Jordan), who would I love to hang out with and hear basketball stories from the most?
I would say none of them! I would gladly say, out of nowhere, that I would love to listen to Larry Bird stories all day long.
Someone would say, Larry Bird wasn’t on the list! You have to pick between those 3 players. The so-called GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). It might surprise a lot of you, but I would say Kobe without any hesitation.
Now, I can imagine my brother, The Educated Fool aka Donnie Disco, screaming “what is happening to my sister?!”
But, let me explain something. Kobe is a very bright guy. You can have a decent, philosophical conversation with him. You may not agree with his opinions, but you know you will learn something.
Like the title of this post is pointing out, those gentlemen are not perfect at all. They all have flaws. Some were maybe not the best teammates to their colleagues while they were playing. They didn’t really want to pass the ball to the others. Instead, they were pretty much Me-Myself-and-I-type players. I’m talking about Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Of course, they both are pretty similar. They were breathing the game 24/7. Both were being coached by the great Phil Jackson. How I see Bryant and Jordan is like Rocky Balboa (Jordan) and Adonis Creed (Bryant). The Original and The Ingenue. The Ingenue became quite spectacular before he retired.
But LeBron is the Apollo Creed of the trio.
I can hear some “Ohhh!” while you are reading that statement.
Why do I put LeBron as Apollo?
When Apollo lost his championship in Rocky II and returned in Rocky III as Rocky’s mentor, you could see that Apollo saw the bigger picture. Being an ally instead of an opponent was more beneficial for him, and for Rocky. At the end of Rocky III, when Apollo reminded Rocky about his small favor – the last boxing match between the two of them. No one would ever see this match because it was just the two them. They were the only ones at the gym. Apollo wanted to prove to himself, between the two of them, who was the greatest but in a friendly kind of way. We didn’t find out who won until the beginning of Rocky IV. I’m sorry to talk about the Rocky movies, but the characters parody this basketball trio so well. LeBron is more humble, maybe the less selfish one in this trio. That is an admirable quality, especially for someone who gets so much attention.
Like Apollo, he is a good businessman. He sees the bigger picture. Oh, now, someone will tell me MJ is the father of athlete branding. I will say, you are so right, but with LeBron, you can feel his interest will go somewhere else – will it be in the business world or elsewhere? When we say that this person is the Michael Jordan of law or this person is the Michael Jordan of science, that is a fact that Michael Jordan is his own brand.
But LeBron seems to bring a little bit more versatility. He is way more than the man we see on camera. I guess we just need to wait and see.
To say who is the ultimate GOAT? There are a bunch of GOATs out there. Why do we need one when we can have 10? Bird, Johnson, Jordan, Bryant, James, Julius Erving aka Dr. J, Barkley, Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain, Iverson, Durant… The list could go on, but I will stop there.
My point is that we don’t have to crown one king. We could crown many kings because they were all great. Yes, some of them, were spectacular to watch and made us believe we could fly (oh crap, am I singing R. Kelly’s SpaceJam song?!… Oh crap).
Being the GOAT is more than championship rings and the tongue while dunking. It’s about being a team player. It’s not about being the most polished, perfect guy in front of the camera. It’s about being a decent human being when there is no one filming you (ok, maybe not today in 2019) even if you made some big mistakes. That’s part of being human. To fake a squeaky clean image, but really be a nasty piece of work is not part of the GOAT application form. I don’t mean to send some jabs, but Jordan with his gambling and letting the NBA pretty much cover it, plus his attitude toward some of the other players – this is not really a GOAT attitude. Ok, the gambling is maybe over or we are just not aware of what is happening anymore, but being not so nice with LeBron, come on MJ! You can be better than that. All these GOAT shenanigans are so childish boys.
Can’t we all live in perfect harmony?
I’m changing my mind.
Finally, I’d rather have a nice conversation with Barkley, Abdul-Jabbar, Bird and Dr. J, then off to hit some golf balls (especially with Barkley).