LeBron over MJ and Kobe
Michael Jordan made basketball a global sport and dominated on the court. Then Kobe showed up, grabbed all MJ's moves, and took it to another level while chasing his idol. However, Candace Parker believes LeBron James managed to outshine both MJ and Kobe with his activities outside the court, changing how people think about athletes.
“He [LeBron] is unbelievable. He’s an athlete that, if you talk about just on the court, is he better than Mike? I don’t know. Is he better than Kobe? I don’t know. He’s definitely top-5 in my book. Top-3 in my book. But in terms of impact as an athlete, like the platform that he’s had, social justice and building schools, and changing the way we think of athletes and business. He’s number one for sure.”
Examining the impact of the 3 of the greatest
MJ redefined how athletes should build businesses. He’s one of the most successful businessmen when it comes to selling shoes ever. Although he shied away from making public comments on social issues, Jordan helped and contributed to the Black community when needed.
Kobe took his off-the-court activities into a lot more different directions compared to MJ. From starting his own investment fund to winning an Academy Award for a short animated film. Unfortunately, his post-basketball career was cut way too short, but Bryant's impact on communities around the world is undeniable.
LeBron James’ contribution to Akron and the “More than an Athlete” conversation he started brought to light his impact outside the NBA. However, he also received his fair share of criticism for refusing to campaign for vaccination or taking a neutral stand on the Hong Kong vs. China issue. What we saw was James thinking of his brand and businesses, too. China is a big market for any player. Losing it was obviously not an option.
MJ, Kobe, and LeBron have impacted the game more than any other athlete in the history of basketball. While LeBron's been most active when it comes to "changing the way we think of athletes and business," James has also been most controversial and hypocritical about it. Not sure this is the hill his supporters want to make their stand on.