Featuring Opinionated MJ
Featuring Opinionated MJ
By: Steven Brown
4 back surgeries including one to fuse his spine. A comment at the Masters champions dinner in 2017 that he would never play golf again. The scandal of all the affairs in 2010 and the embarrassment of getting arrested for a DUI in 2017. Tiger has endured everything imaginable that threatened to keep him from achieving greatness again on the golf course. Little did we know that Tiger was saving his greatest achievement for the Masters in 2019.
Fast forward to 2018. Tiger was back on the golf course not knowing what to expect. Not even knowing if he could achieve a fraction of the greatness he once had. He showed flashes with a 2nd place finish at the Valspar Championship. Later that summer he led at the Open Championship going into the second nine. He didn’t win but it was a taste of having the lead at a Major Championship. Then came the PGA Championship in August where Tiger showed a huge leap in confidence and play when he finished 2nd to Brooks Koepka. Finally, Tiger broke through with his 80th PGA Tour win at the Tour Championship. That win showed that Tiger could again compete with the best and that he could win under the pressure of tournament golf.
Now we finally come to the Masters in 2019. Tiger started the final round 2 strokes back of Francesco Molinari. Molinari has been the model of consistency over the last 12 months. Even midway through the final round, it looked like Tiger was again going to fall short as Molinari kept making unbelievable pars from spots he shouldn’t make pars from. Then came the 12th hole. Molinari hits it in the water and makes double bogey and opened the door for Tiger and many others to win.
The thing that made this tournament more impressive than any I can remember for Tiger was the level of competition he had to overcome to win and the circumstances surrounding his return to greatness. The likes of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who are Major Champions in their own right, were breathing down his neck as Tiger came down the stretch but Tiger did not relent. He hit great shot after great shot down the stretch and pulled out the one-shot win.
As a fan and a person who idolized Tiger growing up, this win was so emotional for me. Tiger has overcome long odds and unbearable physical ailments to return to the glory he deserves. I’m so happy and excited for him and I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the year and beyond. The record of 18 Majors held by Jack Nicklaus seems like it could be in reach yet again for Tiger. All that has happened has proven to me that Tiger once and for all is not just the greatest golfer of my generation, but that he is the greatest golfer of all time.
By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)
Maybe the within the next 3 months…
Now, we are truly all witnesses to greatness. I agree with LeBron saying he should be MVP, but he’s definitely not the first to be denied the award during a great year. Shaq, Kobe, Chris Paul, Kawhi, and others have deserved the award but the narrative didn’t call for them to be the winner. Yet and still, we have one of the best seasons from arguably the best in the game and he will not win the award. So what.
LeBron has been dominant this year. He has decided to take control of the ball more when it comes down to the last shot. He’s actually taking those shots now. Missing won’t hurt your legacy at all. I think he finally gets that. Yes, he averaged a triple double for a month and has been throwing up gaudy numbers, but then I can point to Russell Westbrook for doing it for an entire year and even flirting with repeating now. Not as MVP but by averaging a triple double, back to back. Russell won’t win it either but should be considered as well. So what.
LeBron is correct. He’s had a shuffling of teammates, lineup changes, injuries to his teammates, constant jelling, and now he’s dealing with coaching issues. Yes, Cleveland could fall in standings with a couple losses here and there to finish. Not even that matters. Even if Cleveland missed the playoffs, it wouldn’t hurt LeBron. The East still belongs to LeBron since 2011. He’s been there every year. I’ll give him that although it is the east. The warriors have been to 3 straight and their team is breaking down a bit. LeBron has made twice, almost triple the amount of finals straight than GS. That matters.
It’s simply appreciating his greatness while he’s still here. He’s doing Jordan/Kobe fadeaways now. He’s making tough shots. He’s increased his percentage from the 3. He’s worked hard to incorporate guys all year and is still the one to beat in the Eastern Conference. I can see a potential upset, but that may only come to Philadelphia with full health. Everyone else still look like Eastern Conference folders to me. This year could add to his legacy. If he can fight through, make this year’s finals, and win?!?! We have no choice but to put him in the conversation. It won’t take 2-5. It’ll be this June if that were to happen. Don’t ever sleep on him. He might average 45 and have players making timely shots. Landing another one in Cleveland with no #2 superstar would change the narrative across the league. He would be the one that fully ushered in the Superteam era… He would also be the one to kill it.
Huge stakes for LeBron this year. Somehow, catching Jordan is always put in front of him every year, one way or another. Dare disagree.
Kobe Is Somewhere Hoping LeBron Gets Swept… It cements him as the 2nd Best Behind Jordan in this 3 headed debated.
By: Opinionated MJ
We’re currently sitting on a 3-0 Warriors lead in these playoffs. LeBron has played very well but he just doesn’t have enough done to have anything in the win column. Is it his fault now? That’s to be determined and deciphered. There is 1 thing that would be made plain and simple if the Warriors sweep the Cavaliers tomorrow night, the Jordan AND Kobe conversation ends. It’ll just disappear like smoke in the wind.
We’ve spent most of the last 2-3 seasons asking if LeBron is the GOAT. With that comes a direct comparison to Michael Jordan. To be the best, you must beat the best. It’s easy to see that LeBron has been topping Jordan in a lot of records. Blame can be put on what age they came into the league and the fact Jordan retired DURING his prime. Other fingers point to the heavy Eastern Conference Jordan had to deal with. He had so many rivals, especially in comparison to LeBron. Even LeBron tried to mimic the fact that Jordan had to go through the Detroit Pistons to become a champion. That led to him being swept out of the finals. After that happened, his only true rival had been formed in the form of the Big 3 Boston Celtics with KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo was on his was to greatness as well.
James finally had to face-off a few times with the Celtics before deciding that he’d be better off fighting this monster by joining forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Mind you, Kobe Bryant is still apart of the terror that resides in the Western Conference. Kobe then fought with the Celtics twice and becomes a repeat champion after 3 finals visits. Fast forward to the Mavericks team that finally beat Kobe and became the NBA Champion against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. LeBron then becomes an NBA champion a year later versus Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder setting up a dream rematch that we wouldn’t see for 5 years. LeBron then repeats against the San Antonio Spurs, giving him revenge and solidifying him as a champion. He then falls to the Spurs and goes back home to Cleveland. There, he takes them straight to the NBA Finals and loses to the Golden State Warriors. The next season, he posts an epic 1-3 comeback versus these same Golden State Warriors. Now to bring it full circle, we are looking at LeBron down 0-3 to the Warriors again.
Now, should LeBron lose to these Warriors in a sweep, there’s one thing that would be cemented: He CANNOT be determined as the Greatest of All Time. Ever. He can’t even be placed as the second best, in my opinion, behind Michael Jordan. He will be etched behind Michael AND Kobe Bryant as the 3rd best between those 3 players. We’ve been overlooking Kobe for a long time and his legacy can be cemented with him simply sitting at home, retired. I’m sure he’s somewhere right now hoping that LeBron falls to the Warriors 4-0 in this NBA Finals matchup. It does nothing but put Kobe back into the conversation where he never truly existed AT ALL in the minds of many LeBron James fans. Rather it was because he was a facilitator that Kobe never was, rather he was “considered” the one who elevated his teammates, he was ALWAYS put over Kobe. We can debate rather Kobe made his teammates better or not, I thought he made them better players, taught them preparation, kept them all reeled in and uncomfortable with losing, and ultimately, made them step their game up to catch their last 2 championships. He didn’t have Shaq for the last 2. He had Pau Gasol who was considered SOFT and Andrew Bynum who was considered aloof and was often injured. Kobe gave his teammates toughness. Kobe was never swept out of the Finals. Kobe often played through injuries throughout most of his career and still played at an elite level most of his career before the Achilles injury. LeBron is standing on a floor of eggs shells right now and looking at the door that Michael Jordan entered. There’s two ways this can go, the likely scenario is that he will either fall through and drop a level, under Kobe, who he is eye to eye with, or he will post the greatest comeback and walk through that door. I’m sure Kobe is watching, waiting, hoping for his legacy to be cemented as 2nd best behind the mysterious ghost that is Michael Jordan.
I’ll leave you with this, could Jordan win at least 1 game against this Warriors team? Could Kobe?
By: Opinionated MJ
Hey Kevin, it’s your time to put up or shut up!
The Warriors are currently seeing a growing lead in the first quarter against the Spurs, game 4. Klay Thompson is the only player who is experiencing some inconsistency but maybe the incoming rest will help him adjust to the physical nature and intensity that the Cavaliers will bring once they stop messing around with the Celtics. Adam Silver must’ve told them to chill and let the Celts get a game. Steph Curry has been taking the ball to the hole and he’s been having good looks from midrange than usual. He’s moving his feet well on the defensive end as well, although, he still endured some shaky foul calls in Game 3. Reminded me of the 2016 NBA Finals. I won’t forget Iman Shumpert running into him and the refs calling a foul on Steph who was already stationary in his position on the floor. Bets must have been placed, eh?
Steve Kerr is out and everyone is concerned about the progression of his health. He’s been traveling with the team and I’m sure that behind the scenes he’s doing what he must to keep this team rolling so they can win another championship. I didn’t mention that Draymond Green is looking like the greatest glue guy every assembled and placed on an NBA roster. Potential Defensive Player of the Year. He has my vote with Kawhi as a close second if I incorporate the playoffs into my vote. If I didn’t, then he’d be a distant second. I currently think highly of Kawhi right now. He’s not here to put a stop to any of this madness. LeBron is up next, so this leads me to what I really want to touch on. The finals will be about two men: LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Can Durant elevate his game to another level? Will he be able to attain the eye of the tiger? I’m sure LeBron will matchup with Kevin, and this is where he will be depended upon to still perform and put up his usual stats and more. I have very high expectations of him if the Warriors want to have any chance to beat the Cavs. That’s the reason he came on board, right? To be able to get back at LeBron. What better way to win your first championship than to do it over LeBron? His own fans call him the Greatest of All Time. There’s no better way to win a ring than to add a win over LeBron onto your resume. Regardless of who you’re teamed with. They said LeBron would be better than Jordan if he beat this jump shooting Warriors team. Let’s not mention the league caters to an up-tempo game with much less physical play and he’s 6’9 250-260. Football! Elevate your game Kevin!
LeBron is bringing his well-oiled Cleveland Cavs machine to the war and he’s looking to repeat. Can you stop him on his way to creating a dynasty? Can you etch your name above those who should’ve won a championship but they seen the great Michael Jordan? Can you get that elusive ring that Barkley, Miller, Malone & Stockton, Payton & Kemp, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and many others don’t have? Should we add Carmelo Anthony to that bunch right now? Can you be the difference maker in this series? Can you take over the game when you need to and not be a spectator to the Steph Curry show? Will you be what this team was missing last year when they gave up a 3-1 lead? Ironically, the same lead you forfeited to the same team you now are a part of. Are you here just to get Golden State to the promised land and shockingly sabotage their plans and laugh in their faces when you go back to Russell Westbrook and OKC with all their plays, knowledge, and execution plans as you disappear in the Finals on purpose? That’s a conspiracy but I wouldn’t put it past you until you prove me wrong. This year it’s all about you, Kevin Durant. It’s time to put up or shut up. Period. Barring injuries or deficiency in team health, you have no excuses. Deliver!
By: Opinionated Reezy
Let me begin with a disclaimer saying this is not, let me repeat, NOT an Anti-Jordan, Anti-Kobe, Anti-Anyone blog, rant, etc. It is a pro Lebron post and once you read till the end, I hope you will at least agree that Lebron James should be in the conversation as one of the greatest Basketball Player of our lifetime.
Let’s first get the stats out of the way. In this case, we will compare the stats for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James.
1072 Games 30ppg 6.2rpg 5.3apg 49.7%fg 32.7%fg3 83.5%ft 50.9%efg 27.9 PER 214 Win Shares
6x NBA Champ, 11x All-NBA, 3x AS MVP, 5x MVP, 6x Finals MVP, 9x All-Defensive
1346 Games 25ppg 5.2rpg 4.7apg 44.7%fg 32.9%fg3 83.7%ft 48.2efg 22.9 PER 172.7 Win Shares
5x NBA Champ, 15x All-NBA, 4x AS MVP, 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 12x All-Defensive
998 Games 27.1ppg 7.2rpg 6.9apg 49.8%fg 34.0%fg3 74.4%ft 53.2%efg 27.6 PER 194.4 Win Shares
3x NBA Champ, 12x All-NBA, 2x AS MVP, 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 6x All-Defensive
LeBron James has a PER on par with Michael Jordan while exceeding in rebounding and assist averages. His scoring is down, but in favor of his assist averages. One thing to keep in mind is that he is still going so I imagine his scoring numbers may drop slightly, but only because his rebounding and assist numbers are increasing. Yes, I am predicting that in the game, LeBron will be changing his style of play once again to increase his longevity, but to also make him even more of a threat on the court. This is not the only reason I am saying he is one of greats, so let’s dig in.
For starters, LeBron James is in great company with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, as it is common place to hate greatness in the moment. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James have each had their fair share of criticism during their rise to greatness. I for one participated in some of it as we all did. Some of the comments were:
Can’t be touched without the refs fouling
Can’t win without…..
Every time this happened the players shouldered through and proved the doubters wrong. They showed how great they were. LeBron is doing that very thing now and the haters are waiting for him to fail. He will need to embrace becoming the villain in order to completely shoulder through.
Second, LeBron James came into the league in 2004, 7 years after Kobe and 20 after Michael Jordan. LeBron had the blueprint of what to do and what not to do by watching the trailblazers before him light the world on fire, on the court. LeBron is great because he is a student of the game and would have patterned himself after greatness. He also had the ability to watch Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and others whom he would adapt his style of play to. We all know his Basketball IQ is off the charts and because of that he would already have his body prepared to counteract the “Jordan Rules”, he would know at a certain point he would have to adjust his weight like Kobe to make his body respond better, and that he would need to have a consistent team around him like Magic and Bird had. Remember, when LeBron James entered the league from High School the highlight of his game was not his scoring, it was his court vision and passing. His first commercial for Nike had nothing to do with him scoring, but him assisting. The NBA (more so the Cavaliers) forced him to play more like Kobe and MJ. He is not playing as he intended to, more like Magic Johnson.
Third, despite all that was mentioned above you still have to play the game and having all the raw potential won’t prepare you for the actual rigors of an NBA Season and seasoned talent that is there. It took Michael Jordan seven seasons to get to the NBA Finals. Those prior years he was losing and learning, getting better, but more importantly, so was his team. His major benefit, even to his admission, was that he was playing in an ultra-aggressive conference at the time. Once he got there he couldn’t be stopped and it was a sight to see. Kobe Bryant took three seasons to get there and he benefitted two ways. The first was having Shaq who went through hard knock life lessons of playoff basketball in the East and the second was learning in a now ultra-talented western conference that was tired of losing to Michael Jordan and adapted to beat him even though he was gone.
Lebron James had to take his lumps as well. Prior to his time in the NBA he hadn’t really lost or experienced what that felt like. Yes it took him four seasons to get to the NBA Finals and he did that with a team comprised of Boobie Gibson, Mo Williams, Drew Gooden, and Donyell Marshall. Additionally, LeBron was playing in a decimated eastern conference after the void of Jordan’s absence and the NBA’s obsession with finding the heir apparent. LeBron James finally has a team that would be considered on par with what Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had (yes, I am including the Miami years) in terms of consistency and overall synergy. This is not to make excuses for LeBron, but I don’t want to frown on success either. We love posting memes about Jordan failing X number of times and coming back without realizing that LeBron needs to fail to get better. What is unfortunate for him is that failure only seems to occur when the title is on the line.
Fourth, is the future! LeBron just broke the top ten in career scoring and can easily get to sixth place based on his current trajectory. What is equally fascinating is that he is eighteenth in career assists and is a little over 1000 away from cracking the top ten. With his current trajectory, he is on par to hit that in two seasons. Once that occurs he will be the first player in NBA History to be in the top 10 of both offensive categories (scoring and assists).
There is no denying that Michael Jordan is the best and I believe that his overall contributions to the game would make him a great candidate to replace Jerry West as the logo; however, we should never be afraid to see someone else rise to greatness. If we did that we would still be heralding Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics as the greatest ever and there are a multitude of reasons why that is simply not true. There will come a time when a player will perform on the court and will rightfully be considered the greatest ever. When that happens, we should look at more than just the number of championships they have. We should look at the moments, battles, the moments within a season, all of it. It is for all of that I would say LeBron James deserves to remain in the conversation as one of the greatest players of our lifetime.