In a recent interview for NBC Sports, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf was talking about the impact of the recent documentary ‘The Last Dance‘. The documentary gave older fans a chance to remember some of the best moments the Bulls franchise was going through in the ’80s and ’90s, and the younger fans were able to learn more about one of the most dominant teams in NBA history. On the other hand, the documentary ignited the never-ending debates when comparing different eras and basketball players.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that in Reisndorf’s opinion, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that ever lived. He is also aware of all the debates that are going around with fans constantly debating whether LeBron James or Jordan is a greater player. Reinsdorf, like many others, takes a stance and doesn’t want to talk about it because, for him, it’s a no brainer.
“This is history. It makes for fascinating stuff. And ‘The Last Dance’ obviously should establish in the mind of any person with normal eyesight that Michael was beyond a doubt the greatest of all-time. In my mind, anytime anybody wants to talk to me about comparing Michael to LeBron (James), I’m going to tell them to please don’t waste my time.Jerry Reinsdorf, via NBC Sports
One of the things people often forget when discussing this topic is that they were both different types of players when it came to their playing style and what exactly they are in charge of with their teams. Obviously, there are some similarities between them, especially when it comes to sheer determination to win and eagerness to improve their game. Reinsdorf makes a good argument by saying LeBron should be compared more to Magic Johnson or Oscar Robertson with whom from a playing style perspective shares a lot of similarities.
“I’m really pleased it showed how great Michael was to people who hadn’t seen him play. I’m truly tired of people trying to compare LeBron to Michael when it’s not even close. They should try to compare LeBron with Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson. Michael was so head and shoulders over everybody, and that really came out in this documentary. He was a phenomenon. We may never see another like him.”Jerry Reinsdorf, via NBC Sports
Most of the younger fans probably don’t know much about Magic Johnson and what he did to the opposing teams every time he spent on the basketball court, let alone Oscar, who played in the ’60s. However, LeBron’s game was always more inclined to involve his teammates in every way possible, which Magic and Oscar also did efficiently through their careers.
It’s unfair to say Jordan wasn’t able to do the same thing, but the Bulls system was built around him, scoring the ball more than everything else. The major factor was Scottie Pippen, who was a player that could do multiple things exceptionally well on the court, and one of them was getting his teammates in the best position to score.
Therefore, Reinsdorfs comment makes sense, and it’s completely valid for him to think Jordan is the greatest player that ever played. LeBron’s NBA journey is still ongoing. Who knows how it will end, but for fans who are always comparing the two, it might make sense to invest their time and learn more about other all-time greats that played a similar way as LeBron.