Tag Archives: Michael Jordan

Jordan III (Kawhi and the Raptors)

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

First there was Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Then Kobe Bryant. Now there’s Kawhi Leonard.

Yes, Kawhi Leonard. Playing like another Jordan type. I could actually make a case that the team he plays for houses another key element that Jordan had alongside him in Scottie Pippen. That man is Pascal Siakam. He went from averaging 6.9 PPG last year to averaging 17.3 PPG. Also he was shooting 22% from 3 to shooting 37% from 3 this season. He’s been beyond instrumental on defense. He made the Scottie Pippen jump. Plain and simple. Year 3.

Back to Kawhi. He was traded from the Spurs to the Raptors, after being accused of skipping the year and qutting on his team. The excuse was injury, and we can visibly see he might’ve been worried about playing on that injury last year shortly affect it occurred. Maybe he needed to have a longer healing time. It created tension within the Spurs organization and made Kawhi fall from many Top 5 active lists rather it was from media or fans alike. That was an overreaction. Simply put. Did anybody pay attention to what Danny Green said about the situation? I guess not. Believe whatever you want.

Now we’ve seen Kawhi have a heavy hand in taking out 2 of the 3 other good teams in the east. The Orlando Magic were not to be a worry at all. They took 1 game and couldn’t adjust to the Raptors adjustments. In round two, Kawhi put away Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, AND Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s huge and heavily overlooked. He iced the entire series with a friendly bounce game winning shot. Luck? Then he took down the giant Giannis and his supporting cast that looked unstoppable heading into the Eastern Conference finals. Coincidence? There would’ve been no need to see them play the Celtics, the only other team that I considered strong enough to contend for a championship. They house many internal issues that Kawhi & the Raptors would’ve fully exposed, maybe even worse than Giannis did. Let me repeat, HE SLAYED THE GIANT, GIANNIS!

Now this round is for everything. Much on the line on both sides. Let me first admit, I’m a Warriors fan. I’m also a Kawhi fan. I know how that sounds. I didn’t believe in the Raptors until they got rid of DeRozan. I didn’t believe they could get past the Bucks and Sixers. With that being said, I now fear for Golden State. I know what I thought two years ago when the Warriors were playing the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Kawhi could change the entire landscape of the NBA if he wins this Championship. Easily. One superstar on a team to win a championship? Huge legacy move. Instantly puts him in the conversation to be the best in the world.

I didn’t mention how much I respect his teammates, well, everyone not named Kyle Lowry. Let me throw that in there to maintain honesty. I’ve been shocked with his play lately. He’s come up in big moments and hasn’t come up short in back to back games like he used to. Then there’s Danny Green, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, the ascension of Norman Powell out of nowhere (or maybe he was the X Factor against the Bucks). Then there’s potential that OG Anunoby is coming back. So much defense. Let’s not ignore that the first 3 names I mentioned with Kawhi all came from the Western Conference. They’ve all seen the Warriors in the playoffs over the last several years. They have the experience of playing against the Warriors. They all come from good organizations and they were key in their many forms of success in the west. Ibaka used to be the Spurs kryptonite. The only one to dispel anything they’d do and the first since Kobe. I always felt like when the OKC Thunder traded Ibaka, there was no need for Kevin Durant to stay, they couldn’t stop the Warriors without Ibaka anyway.

The Raptors have a core of the same players who all have bad tastes in their mouths from losing to Golden State along with the hunger to win. I can’t really call this series either way but I’ve said Warriors in 6 because I’ve been a fan. It’s the safe choice. That doesn’t mean that the Raptors couldn’t win it in 5 or 6 games and come from the blindside like the 2004 Detroit Pistons did when NO ONE expected it. It’s time to eat or be eaten alive.

Photo credit: Getty Images

LeBron, Lakers, and Low Expectations..?

I don’t really understand why all the major media outlets believe that this is an “off year” or “honeymoon” season for LeBron. That’s wild. Must be the new narrative for the year to continue this LeBron/Jordan debate.

By: Opinionated MJ

Low Expectations Bron. You like what I did there? Let’s talk. Best player in the world. Best player in the NBA. Best player by far, right? Better than Steph, KD, Kawhi, and whoever else you would argue is second. Wait, distant second, right? Okay. If that’s the case, why is everything thinking this Lakers team won’t be a top 4 seed in the West this upcoming season. I’ll go on a limb and say that they will be a top 3 seed this upcoming season.

Who is standing in LeBron’s way besides Golden State, Houston, OKC, and Utah? Yes, Utah. They have a good wing player in Donovan Mitchell, a great rim protector in Rudy Gobert, and a point guard who seems to still be improving in Ricky Rubio. Not to get off subject, these are the only teams I think truly are a threat. With that being said, I see the Lakers landing at the 2 or 3 seed.

Golden State may get bored like they did last year. Houston may take a step back. OKC may hover and be where they have been the last 2 seasons. The wildcard here is truly the Spurs. I’ve got to see what product they put on the floor once training camp is underway. It’ll take time for things to transition smoothly for the Lakers, the Spurs, and maybe the Rockets as well. The Warriors didn’t retain everybody either and may face growing pains. Let’s not ignore the shortened preseason either. It’ll be less time to gel when it doesn’t count and they’ll all have to get it together as the season progresses.

This narrative that this is an “off year” for LeBron only sets up the idea that if he wins this year, many will raise him above Michael Jordan. I don’t know how many still expected LeBron to make the finals in the east but there were many. We just watched him carry a team that was constructed in FEBRUARY throughout the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. He landed the Cavs in the finals. The NBA Finals! I don’t care Kyrie and Gordon were hurt. I don’t care the Pacers were inconsistent when it mattered. I don’t care that the Toronto, Barney, LeBronto Raptors really loved LeBron so much that they just let him walk by, untouched. Then he came up against the mighty Warriors. Mistakes by George Hill and JR Smith, then a total collapse that followed. The Cavs were also loaded with old, but highly depended upon Kyle Korver, a troubled Tristan Thompson, and coaching inconsistencies with Ty Lue.

Excuse my sarcasm. I had to use it to make my next point. How does anyone really expect that this Laker team will struggle and that the Laker youth will struggle next to LeBron? I think LeBron will reinvent himself. He’s already done so by luring in a team of rivals. The signings of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson show me that LeBron is ready to try a different approach to his style of play and to how he incorporates his teammates. LeBron will have those playmakers that he’s asked for. There’s also this myth about the Lakers, that they can’t shoot. I’ve seen numbers that were just under 40% from 3 from a few Lakers during the second half of last season. It will easily go into the 40 percentile with LeBron, Lonzo, and Rondo at the helm. Rondo alone will be enough to ensure better flow.

How about we realize how much you guys scream that he’s the greatest active player, and then turn around and actually give him credit for carrying Cleveland to another 50 win season all by himself. Translate that to the west, along with the fact that anyone out west will need to win Game 1 to stand a chance against LeBron in the Playoffs. Period. I don’t think any of you die hard LeBron fans truly believe that anyone outside of the Golden State Warriors will dust the Lakers off. You can be honest. Let’s stop the Kobe slander as well. LeBron hasn’t even played a preseason game as a Laker yet. Let’s just focus on LeBron in his own version of purple and gold. You’ll realize what these Lakers are by game 40. They’ll be 29-11. That’s when everything will click in and run like a well oiled machine, if not sooner. Let’s give LeBron credit for his maturation as well. I expect to see his game mature this season too. He may just take MVP.

I predict a 53 win season. Once this happens, you’ll realize why I call him, “Terror”. Welcome back to the playoffs LakerNation!

Jordan Dethroned – Part Two: The New Standard of Basketball

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

I already know some of you are foaming at the mouth and getting ready to type hate and venom into the comments but hear me out. Michael Jordan has been dethroned as the king of the Basketball world by not one, but two players in two distinct areas. Part two is dedicated to LeBron James, the King. By all accounts he has surpassed Michael Jordan as the new standard of basketball.

The Foundation

Let us be perfectly clear by no means am I suggesting that Michael Jordan is lesser than. In fact, he is the blueprint of this era. There would be no LeBron James without Michael Jordan. When we speak to greatness of his Airness we talk about the two three-peat with the Chicago bulls, never lost in the finals, the way he willed his teams to victory. For 15 seasons he put it all on the line. His career numbers were 30.1 pts, 6.2 rebs, and 5.3 asts. A slew of players came forth emulating his style to a degree looking to reach the mantle.

Rest assured I will not be using the lazy reference of G.O.A.T, I will put it out there and say LeBron James is currently tracking to surpass Michael Jordan in the key statistical categories and as a Small Forward on pace to be in the top 10 in points and assists, with strong ratings in rebounds.

The New Standard

LeBron James entered the league with enormous expectations. He was one of a long line of players who the sports analysts were looking at as the heir apparent. If you could dunk or brand yourself with the number 23 you were automatically placed in that running. Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, Danny Granger, and countless other were in that running and all fell short, LeBron held firm. His career was always viewed in terms of years and was somehow expected to take a team who couldn’t spell playoffs all the way to the Finals in year two.

Despite being self-described facilitator, he was forced into the scorer role and in 2007 he took the Cavaliers to the finals only to be swept by the Spurs. Poor Management, Lack of local support, and subpar advice from other players led to a move to Miami where LeBron began to develop further into what he is today.

What we began to realize is that LeBron had other mentors on the business side who advised him not to wait for what is there and take the opportunity when it is presented. What followed is a string of dominance that is a double-edged sword. For 15 years and counting LeBron James has been consistently dominant. No, he has not always won in the finals, but his teams have served to be formidable in all obstacles.

Lebron makes teams that would be garbage on paper a threat. He is equally a threat as a scorer as he is a facilitator and he remain in the conversation for MVP and NBA first Team well into points where his actual peers have shown true signs of decline.

We are now seeing players emulate his style play such as Anthony Davis, Lonzo Ball, and Ben Simmons.

The Conclusion

The problem we face with LeBron James is that we continue to have the wrong conversations regarding his place with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. In today’s social media frenzy there seems to be this need force rank them, or worse, bring up senseless comparisons. You cannot seriously do it. You may prefer one over the other and that is fine, but here is what is factual.

• Michael Jordan set the world on fire and set the foundation and did what at the time was undoable for a shooting guard

• Kobe Bryant truly emulated that style and enhanced with a viciousness that is unmatched. His love for the game was represented in every fiber of his being

• LeBron James need for the game as an outlet fuels his undying desire to be better. He is creating a legacy and new standard that will be one for the ages. Players may be on teams that win more, but the established presence and dominant longevity will be one for the ages.

If we truly respect the game, we must honor the past while realizing that we have players who are drawing upon it to make it better. Failing to do so will only result in a stale product resting on the laurels of yesteryear with no evolution to call for.

Jordan Dethroned: Part One The New King of Basketball

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

I already know some of you are foaming at the mouth and getting ready to type hate and venom into the comments but hear me out. Michael Jordan has been dethroned as the king of the Basketball world by not one, but two players in two distinct areas. Part one is dedicated to the forgotten one, Kobe Bean Bryant, the Black Mamba. By all accounts he has surpassed Michael Jordan as the one to emulate for Killer Instinct and winning on the highest scale.

The Foundation

Let us be perfectly clear by no means am I suggesting that Michael Jordan is lesser than. In fact, he is the blueprint of this era. There would be no Kobe Bryant without Michael Jordan. When we speak to greatness of his Airness we talk about the two three-peat with the Chicago bulls, never lost in the finals, the way he willed his teams to victory. For 15 seasons he put it all on the line. His career numbers were 30.1 pts, 6.2 rebs, and 5.3 asts. A slew of players came forth emulating his style to a degree looking to reach the mantle.

Rest assured I will not be using the lazy reference of G.O.A.T, I will put it out there and say Kobe Bryant has surpassed Michael Jordan as the new King of the Throne for the current era.

The New King

Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1997 and his career followed a similar beat pattern to Jordan. Jordan began in an era dominated by Magic and Bird. Similarly, Kobe entered the league during the apex of the second three-peat. It was Mike’s league and Kobe was the student. Once MJ retired Kobe aggressively took over, probably too aggressively. I recall the one of the several swan song All-Star games for Jordan where Kobe went at Jordan hard and rejected his shot, which in turn was met with rejection from the announcers. I believe this was a moment where Kobe would be omitted from “the conversation” because it didn’t fit the narrative.

From 2000 – 2002 the Lakers led by Kobe and Shaq were on a terror, they three-peated. After that drama hit in the personal life, sound familiar? Rather than taking time off, Kobe rode it through. He suffered a loss to the Pistons, sound familiar? Now with the Lakers dismantled, Kobe was determined prove he can do it on his own.

Here is where things get interesting:

• Kobe takes an entirely different team (same franchise) and wins two more championships

• Develops what we now refer to as Mamba mentality

• Changes the way the game is approached psychologically

• Creates a narrative in other players who has that killer instinct as Mamba mentality

• Does all of this with consistency up to his 20th season when his body quits on him.

I have always wondered why analyst never compared Kobe to Michael. I suspect the reason is because if you do it objectively you would have to truly give Kobe the edge and I am not sure the analysts are ready to do it, but for the future of the game we must.

Kobe Bryant had a discipline to the game that you could not easily emulate. There are stories where he would psychologically beat you hours before the game began. Players today are clamoring for Kobe’s eye of the game, his instinct, his killer nature. That is something that Michael had, Kobe is better and it is ok to say that.

Skip Bayless Is Horrible For the Game Of Basketball


By Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

I am aware that this is no longer the older days of (sports) journalism. The days where the facts were presented first and then opinion is long gone. We now have opinion first and then cherry-picked facts to back that claim. Journalists today would still hold some degree of foundational facts in their craft to allow themselves to be respected for their opinion. Skip Bayless; however, throws fact against the wall and just runs through whatever opinion he thinks to be true. This makes Skip Bayless horrible for the game of basketball – maybe even sports.

Remember, Skip Bayless believed Tim Tebow was going to box office, better than Kobe and Lebron

Skip Bayless does not really appreciate the game of Basketball. He does not truly understand it and yet he gets paid the big bucks to analyze it and provide commentary.

You are not great unless you make the final basket in a close game to win for the team night in and night out. Never mind, if your team is good enough to not be in those situations. Never mind if your team is structured to pass the ball and avoid tight situations.

People listen to Skip because he says the one thing that people will unanimously agree with, Michael Jordan is the GOAT. However, to do that he has tear down every player on that team and any player who would ever attempt to rise to greatness to considered in the conversation. This is not how Basketball works.

Remember, Skip Bayless believed Kobe Bryant should be ranked in the 90’s in terms player ratings.

Basketball is a team sport and should always be reported that way. Yes, star players make the game exciting, but role players make the game watchable. Team play should be celebrated over individual contributors. The farce the Skip puts on night after night when talking about the game of basketball has to come to an end. It is great for comedy, but horrible for serious sports commentary.

NBA Overload (Stats VS Effect): MoneYBaLL Episode 3

By: Opinionated MJ & NilClassic

Stats vs Effect

LeBron vs Kobe

Tim Duncan

And everything NBA!

Enjoy and thank you for the support!

Kobe Probably Hopes LeBron Loses in 4 

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? 

This Is All On Kevin Durant

 

 

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!

The LeBron Standard: “3 In the Key” Podcast: Episode 2

“The LeBron Standard” – Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend

Episode 2

In A Melo Mood

By: Opinionated MJ



They forgot he was a winner…



I want to get right into criticising the ones who asked, “who wants Melo if even LeBron doesn’t want him?” I want to ask you, since when is LeBron the newly minted man of approval? Since when is it true that Melo isn’t an offensive all star? Since when did we just write him off? Correction, when did YOU write him off?

Did you not consider the fact that his organization is run by an owner who doesn’t even want to be held accountable for anything so he hired Phil Jackson to take up ALL the blame as this continues to go south for the Knicks organization? Did you realize that Phil Jackson intended to hire Steve Kerr, who has coached his team to back to back finals. He won one Championship in that time. The Warriors organization allows him to have the FREEDOM that Phil Jackson won’t give to Jeff Hornacek. Making sense yet?

How to win with the triangle offense? I know how. Have a team built like the Warriors, with the same shooting acumen, or someone who’s Michael or Kobe, and then you’ll be on your way. Carmelo is not one of those players. So why not give this team the freedom to truly grow into what they will be, organically, as opposed to forcing them to play a certain style and then diss them cause they can’t? Even Kobe hijacked the triangle to carry the team to bigger heights.

Did we forget that Carmelo carried the Denver Nuggets from the lottery to being a staple in the playoffs? Including in his rookie year, in a rough Western Conference. He didn’t come out as the Rookie of the Year cause they said he gave up on his team when they complained about him one day. You can’t limit greatness, right? He was a bully with moves all over the floor. He nearly came into the league complete, offensively. I think the league is plagued by what I’d like to call, “The LeBron Standard”. It’s about to change over to the likes of Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their unique talents and output is only a product of themselves, like LeBron’s is. Carmelo never truly made his own niche. People remember him for dominating the post but he’s been more relegated to shooting jumpers lately. 

I still see 2-3 strong years in him. I think he’s holding back. We may be close to seeing how true that statement really is. I predict a trade coming soon amidst all the reports. Hopefully it’s to the Boston Celtics or the Los Angeles Clippers. As much as I want him to win, it wouldn’t be great with him riding LeBron’s coattails to a championship. It’ll destroy his legacy.

​LeBron James, Top five NBA player of all Time?

By: Opinionated Reezy



There was a discussion on ESPN First Take where the discussion was whether LeBron James is in the Top five all-time NBA Players. This is because LeBron James hit another landmark this season by surpassing Moses Malone in the all-time scoring list, putting him at eighth.  He is also currently sixteenth in assists.

Steven A. Smith gave a very poor answer to the question as there really is not an “it depends” to this questions.  To paraphrase he said:
LeBron James is Top five for 46 minutes
LeBron James is not Top five for the remaining 2 minutes

Now, before we continue let me state for the record that I DO NOT believe LeBron James is a Top five NBA Player of all time YET, but he has earned the right to be in the conversation.  

Let me explain why I feel Steven A. Smith’s answer was poor and then I’ll comment on the Top Five list in general.

After Michael Jordan’s real retirement in 1998 the NBA has been on an unhealthy pursuit to find the heir apparent.  Every time you saw a player that could dunk and exhibit some leadership skill they were measured against the legacy of Jordan.  There have been on two players who have really survived that high mark of excellence, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.  Of the two ONLY Kobe Bryant can truly be compared to Michael Jordan.  He was the heir and overall, we overlooked his greatness until he gave all he could give. Kobe lives for those final two minutes like Michael Jordan did, Kobe has ice in his veins, Kobe is the one kids today should look at if they “wanna be like Mike”, be like Kobe.  LeBron James lives for 36 minutes.  He wants to play the game in such a way where he can prepare for the next one, and that means building the lead and letting the team finish the job. Amongst those are expected to score who are not point guards, he is deliberately on the all-time assist list as he is better suited as an all-around team player.  That sounds more like Magic Johnson, than Michael Jordan.  I would imagine for LeBron James, if he must take the last shot then win or lose the game would be considered a failure to him.

I find Steven A. Smith’s answer to be poor because it is, once again, viewing the world only through the lens of Michael Jordan.

I will repeat Lebron James is not a Top five all-time NBA Player yet.  For me he hasn’t achieved enough moments that would cause pause, He hasn’t really garnered a signature trait that would make you say “uh oh”.  It is coming though.

So, who is currently listed in the Top Five?  Per Bleacher Report:

Michael Jordan (SG)

Bill Russell (C )

Magic Johnson (PG)

Kareem Abdul-Jabar (C )

Larry Bird (SF)

LeBron James (SF)

Wilt Chamberlain (C )

Tim Duncan (PF)

Shaquille O’Neal (C )

Hakeem Olajuwon (C )

Here is where I have an issue.  Where is Kobe?  For all the reasons, I listed above, here is how I would change the list:

Remove Wilt Chamberlain – Great Player, but others have achieved more with less.

Insert Kobe Bryant into the Number 5 spot – symbolic that his airness and rightful heir would end cap the top five.

Drop Larry Bird to 6 and Lebron James to 7.

I am not a fan of lists that heavily laced with Centers so that is my bias however, I believe the list with the adjustments is fair.

What do you think?

​Why LeBron James Should Be In the Conversation As One Of the Greatest Basketball Players Of Our Lifetime


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.

Michael Jordan

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


Kobe Bryant

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


LeBron James

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:

Prima Donna

Ball Hog

Can’t be touched without the refs fouling

Over rated

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.

Could Prime Michael Jordan Have Defeated The Golden State Warriors In LeBron’s Place?

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By: Opinionated MJ

Could Prime Michael Jordan Have Defeated The Golden State Warriors In LeBron’s Place?

I want to start this discussion by saying that I respect LeBron and his abilities and the fact that he’s a champion. I believe that he’s arguably the best in the league right now along with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis. I also believe that he will probably be in the next 3-4 finals. Weak Eastern Conference, eh? Now let’s weigh in.

I have started an uproar amongst peers who are proud Jordan fans, LeBron fans, and Kobe fans. I made a statement and asked a question that has us nearly hating each other over our different views. I said, “If Prime Jordan was in LeBron’s place against the Warriors, he would’ve won this series. What do you think?” I’m a believer that LeBron is currently in his prime and at the very height of it. Though, LeBron’s weaknesses are Jordan’s strengths and I think Jordan would’ve overcome the Warriors as he has done against pretty much everything he’s been up against except father time.

A close friend to me says that Jordan has the “Superman” complex when I talk about him because it’s based upon what Jordan has done and was able to do and the fact that he succeeded so how could anyone dare to see him fail in this situation. Sacasticly we then argued about that complex. I watched Jordan as a kid and he put away competitor after competitor after competitor at every level. I’m seeing LeBron operating from the post and mid-post areas and looking to facilitate unless he was backing down Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green. He made a couple fadeaways which was surprising and he also made a few of those jab step jumpers that Carmelo Anthony specializes in. I thought I was watching Melo for a minute at times. Now, when Andre Iguodala guards LeBron James, not only can he push him outside of the post, but he can force him to take really bad shots. I posed this question, “Could Iguodala had honestly stopped Jordan in the spot that made him legendary? The mid-post?” I am very doubtful that he could. Jordan has seen tougher defenders in my opinion.

We’ll move on to this whole concept of “Making His Teammates Better.” LeBron, in my opinion, makes his teammates INSTANTLY better because he is on the floor ACTIVELY looking for them to be open once he penetrates the lane and attracts defenders. Rather he’s driving or he’s posting up (usually a smaller defender), he’ll find an open teammate for a good shot. This is where the argument took another turn in saying that he makes his teammates better and people saying to me that Jordan didn’t do that. I totally disagree. Jordan made his teammates raise their game individually so it would fit into the grand scheme of things so when he passes them the ball they could actually connect on their opportunities instead of hanging on to his every move like LeBron’s teammates. How many times has Randy Brown and Jason Caffey come in make shots and had you like, “Really? Him?!?” Without LeBron, JR Smith and Shumpert were simply LOST. The whole team loses their identity and the ball movement comes to a halt and isolation takes over completely. The only reason they survived a lot of times in the season when this happened was Kevin Love being able to stretch the floor and when the iso’s fail, Kevin will be standing there where LeBron wants him. What a big 3 member is supposed to be doing.

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Would Jordan have converted on a lot more of the volume shots LeBron was taking?

People also say LeBron didn’t have anyone. Okay, so we have actual NBA players who aren’t worth a damn when they fail but when they’re making shots they’re being celebrated. Shumpert! FOR THREE! YESS!!! JR is UNCONSCIOUS RIGHT NOW!!! Celebrated when doing well, and hated and treated as worse than D-Leaguers when they’re doing bad. I’d like some of you to see what the 97-98 Bulls roster looks like from top to bottom. I’m sure you’ll recognize LeBron’s teammates but then again we live in a post-2K era where everybody knows everyone and all their business. Twitter didn’t exist during Jordan’s playing time. Let’s analyze.

Sounds upsurd but, Jordan Cavs:

Dellavedova

Shumpert

Jordan

Thompson

Mozgov

Jordan Bulls:

Kerr

Jordan

Pippen

Rodman

Longley

Considering what I’ve seen from those Cavs teammates, they are VERY defensive. They were able to keep the Warriors off their game for 2 games and 3 quarters and still played good defense thereafter. Thats basically defense at every position and athleticism. Who expects Kerr to stop Curry? So I’d go with Dellavedova on that one. Shumpert did well with his assignment. Thompson seemed to be Dennis Rodman in this series anyway cause he grabbed a few rebounds from half court and Mozgov is a good defender and guy you could drop the ball into for a bailout. Who didn’t he dunk on in this series? He even went 28 & 10 in game 4. Yeah, I would take Mozgov over Longley. Maybe I need to watch some tape to remember what Longley did other than be a gump who made a few shots at the rim. Lets not act like that Cavs team wasn’t defensively formidable and would’ve been better having a lockdown defender with Jordan being there. LeBron isn’t a lockdown defender to me. You disagree? I have a few names: Jason Terry, Kawhi Leonard, Derrick Rose (before injury), Stephen Curry.

I can see Prime Jordan at least continuing to slow down Curry. May not stop him but he’d have a higher chance of doing so. Let’s also not forget how different the rules are nowadays. Jordan would literally rule at the line and would easily put up 50 points. He almost effortlessly could reach 40 points. He was already the focal point of the offense so why would his style thrive in this situation? I see Jordan scoring in places where LeBron would pass. I see Jordan scoring on Iguodala with no problem. Iguodala still had happy feet, it’s just that LeBron could not convert on many of his jumpers. He’s also not comfortable trying to force the issue, Jordan also thrives in this area well. When his teammates became spotty scorers, he would’ve taken over instead of putting his head down and accepting defeat. I see LeBron accept defeat before and he also did so in game 6. I can’t see the assassin in Jordan just relent. I don’t see that happening.

We can argue FG %, we can argue 3pt %, we can argue FT %, we can argue assist ratios, fact of the matter is that Jordan always elevates his game and rises to the occasion and puts teams dreams on hold. He always did. 6 for 6 in the Finals explains enough.

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Would LeBron have made this shot?

Inside In

San Antonio Spurs players Tim Duncan (21) holds his MVP trophy while teammate David Robinson (50) holds the championship trophy after the Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets 88-77 to win the NBA Championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio, June 15, 2003. The sports year in Texas got off to a rousing start with Bill Parcells saying on Jan. 1 that he had agreed to coach the Dallas Cowboys and soon after, the San Antonio Spurs gave David Robinson the ultimate reitrement present, an NBA title. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, file)

By: Opinionated MJ

With LaMarcus Aldridge agreeing to join San Antonio, the Spurs look primed to bring a certain style back to the game that has definitely been endangered. The league has been pushing fastball and the Golden State Warriors fit that model. They’ve done away with voting for “true” centers on the All-Star ballot and now we’re using the term “3 & D” and the important “stretch 4” to describe players that should be playing the power forward position. We’re playing two shooting guards, two small forwards, and a “big”. Let me explain that the easy way: Steph, Klay, Barnes, Iggy, Green as a starting 5. Basically two shooting guards and nearly three small forwards. How many “true centers” do we have there? None. League wide? Cousins, Hibbert, Gasol (Marc), Drummond, Howard, Bogut? Okay, we have more than I thought and I could name more, I think. We’re going to see something like a David Robinson and Tim Duncan frontcourt this upcoming season with Aldridge on board. It’s already July so only three months before we get back into the game on the daily.

Be prepared to be reminded of what the 90’s and early 2000’s basketball looked like, offensively, especially if the Spurs plan on winning a championship as constructed. I don’t think they can get it done without adding at least another shooter or two, and one that can slash. I’ll be direct, they need to replace Bellineli. Period. He made it where Ginobli didn’t need to be as important against other teams when the postseason arrived. Ginobli served as icing on the cake. The only way they can survive as constructed is if they move their plan of attack (and I always compare them to the 2014 Championship Spurs) under the three-point line a bit more. With Aldridge, Duncan, and West, they can play in the mid-post area. The same area Michael Jordan acquired rings from. This of course also allows Duncan to rest even more definitively with West added. He should never play more than 28-30 minutes a game with them both being added to this team. Tiago Splitter was decent but he misses a lot of close shots that could tip the scale of a game. I’m talking easy lay-ups. Aldridge won’t miss those. West is more reliable in that area as well. I expect them to outrebound and outscore opponents in the paint EVERY NIGHT! Same way I expected the Big 3 Miami Heat to win championships, no less. The Spurs sure have a way of deflating current champions when they don’t occupy that spot themselves.

Outside of the Spurs, they only have 4 threats depending on how Free Agency boils down. The Warriors, Thunder, Cavs, and the Clippers IF they can retain DeAndre Jordan. Don’t forget they’ve acquired Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce. As I write this, the Clippers representatives are at his home and not allowing any reps from the Mavericks to enter his home. Reports say that they will stay there until he re-signs with them. Smart move huh? How can you get kidnapped at your own home? Crazy stuff. Anyhow, the Spurs should be able to outlast just about anyone in the coaching department, but you can’t coach how to stop Steph from pulling up in your face from distance and making it unless you employ a fierce trap defense which will leave you with holes. I am one who believes that the Warriors were NOT at full strength in the Finals. Say what you will but didn’t Klay only score 6 points in the last game? Didn’t Steph only wake up at the end of game 3? Draymond didn’t get acclimated until game 3. Adjustments weren’t made until after game 3. I also don’t think the Clippers had the depth to win this year. I’m still shocked they allowed a comeback from 3-1. So atrocious. You know they cried in the car after that.

The dark-horse in all of this is the OKC Thunder who, when healthy, have the Spurs number. Keep Enes Kanter to go with Ibaka and Adams. Slim Reaper returning from injury with Russell Westbrook who could carry a team to the #3 seed in the east? PROBLEMS! They too, need to acquire RELIABLE shooters. They have my boy Kyle Singler who they acquired from my Pistons but they traded Jeremy Lamb away. Who on that team can shoot besides Durant? Russell? I don’t want to see Ibaka shooting long 2’s and 3 pointers when he has Durant to do that for him. They have to acquire someone who will make a difference. I wont sleep on McGary either. Do I really have to speak on Cleveland? Simple. They have LeBron James.

This league is a guard’s league right now. It seemingly has always been. Nothing works without a decent point guard in place either. Now, we’re requiring every position to have skills like guards instead of serving their very own purposes. I mean, LeBron played the 4 & 5 during the playoffs. Handled the ball, setup the team, set the pace, controlled the game. He did it all. So thinking there’s an easy way to get past Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, there isn’t. Anthony Davis is also on the prowl. If Jrue Holiday can stay healthy, you can add him to that list along with the Pelicans. The Rockets could be a threat but they can’t let go of too much depth. I’m also believing that the Kings with Rajon Rondo will be a problem if they can get Cousins and Karl to mend their differences (I truly don’t know about that though) and if they let Rondo dominate the ball and his teammates be happy with that decision. Imagine if Phil Jackson could coach the Kings… Now wake up!

The western conference remains stacked and we could analyze what each team could do to beat the Spurs. Simply said, the Spurs can’t be handed the title while they have a little less depth in the backcourt and still no assurance that Parker and Ginobli will be healthy. If Tony Parker is down and out, you can French kiss that ring goodbye.