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It’s about now, not comparing different eras


What I feared might happen is happening with this NBA final and in some ways, it might be taking away from what’s unfolding in a series that’s far more compelling than I thought it would be.

This is not, and should not be, some kind of referendum on LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan or even vs. Kobe Bryant and I’m hearing far too much chatter about that for my liking.

I get that it makes for good bar discussions and it’s basically harmless and well intentioned but so much of me wants to say “enough is enough” and it’s folly – and impossible – to make any legitimate comparison between players who played in and dominated different eras.

Yes, Jordan’s six winning trips to the NBA final is an amazing accomplishment, almost as amazing as Bill Russell’s nine championships in 11 years and probably more impressive than LeBron’s five straight years in the final.

But it truly is apples and oranges, in my opinion, and to see what James is doing now should be seen as something special and not something to be held against what someone else did back when the game was different, the opposition was different, when so much else was different than it is now.

I think far too often we want to draw these comparisons and have the discussions in some effort to have some kind of definitive pecking order in our minds.

Nothing could be less consequential to me.

I think we should celebrate what we are seeing now and relish in what we’ve seen in the past; I don’t see any reason to compare eras or players or even teams for that matter.

What we are seeing from James through the first three games of the NBA final is astonishing, he has carte blanche to do what he wants how he wants and when he wants; the totality of his skills is on display and it’s wonderful to watch.

Just as it was wonderful to watch Jordan in a different era, just as it was wonderful to watch Magic and Larry back in the day, just as it was wonderful to watch Russell and, I’m sure, Oscar.

I get that people need to try and figure out absolutes, this guy was better than that guy who was better than this other fellow but that’s not the way it should work, I don’t think.

I think we should appreciate what’s in front of us, enjoy the moment and the excellence we are seeing without worrying too much about historical context.

There is no question that LeBron James is one of the singularly best athletes we will ever have the priviledge to see.

Is he as good as Jordan?

Who cares?

I’ve said this so often in other contexts that it’s probably getting old to a lot of you but it’s something I truly believe.

He may not better, he is different and that’s all that really matters. Enjoy it for what it is, don’t worry about comparing one era, one athlete to another.

Appreciate what we have.

A thousand days into a trip and this came on the jukebox at some point and it seemed fitting.

What? Did you all decide to take the mail day off yesterday? Need something to keep me occupied on a long flight tomorrow morning – and heaven knows what’s in store for us – and got like two questions.

Unless you were stuck in some never-ending line dealing with bureaucracy and couldn’t get to a keyboard, let’s go, shall we?

It’s askdoug@thestar.ca and I could use the help.

Yes, IGBT thing tonight about 9 and while attendance has been sparse so far, it’s kinda fun and if you show up, say hello. Like to see familiar names checking whenever they can.

Helluva ball by my favourite Toronto athlete Michael Bradley to set up the equalizer when the United States beat Germany 2-1 on that great, late goal in that friendly yesterday, wasn’t it?

(Yeah, I know. I’m watching a lot of soccer of late and quite liking it; a late afternoon puttering on work after I’d filed the Dellavedova tome included getting the Flannery’s TV turned to the game and it was quite relaxing)

What I particularly like – and it’s a time of year thing that’s unique to soccer – is that players are allowed to leave their club teams to play for their national sides.

It’s probably not optimum for the league sides – and in soccer it’s unique because North America runs its league at precisely the worst time of year for national team obligations – but it does lend an aura of importance to friendlies and other qualifiers that no other sport has.

Kind of fun, no?

Speaking of, I checked the other night and the monitors in our seats at the games in Cleveland do not have cable TV capability so some of you who stop by the IGBT are going to have to keep me up to date on Canada-New Zealand, okay?

And I’m tossing this out there again, get on the tweeter and find my friend and colleague Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) for all your World Cup needs.

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