Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton Is the LeBron James of the NFL

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is introduced before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Nick ConditCorrespondent IJune 14, 2012

While Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is entering only his second season in the NFL, he's already shown a greatness that transcends anything we've ever seen before in the league.

Much like Heat forward LeBron James, last year's NFL Rookie of the Year is a physical specimen with world-class athleticism. 

And whether you like it or not, both are controversial athletes.

But they're mostly alike because of their freakish athletic ability, unprecedented size and stature (unfortunately for LeBron, Kevin Durant might be even more freakish).

Newton threw for 4,051 yards with 21 passing touchdowns and an unheard-of 14 rushing touchdowns from the quarterback position. If he improves his touchdown-to-interception ratio, he will be the best dual-threat player in the game and possibly the best overall quarterback ever to play in the NFL.

The same could be said for LeBron at his position; he has a combination of tools that no one has ever had.

These two competitors have the opportunity to become the most complete players in the history of their respective sports—though both still have a ways to go to achieve that status.

Yes, even LeBron. We continue to see King James struggle with his jump shot, allowing teams to defend more easily, thereby making him one-dimensional. It's almost as if his attacking mindset has caused his jumper to regress as his career has gone on.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers drops back to pass during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He's so big and strong that it's extremely difficult to stop him at the rim, and he might have become too dependent on his dribble-drive instead improving his shot. When he can hit his jump shot consistently, he can go for 45, as we saw him do against the Celtics.

Cam Newton has the ability to put up 35 passing touchdowns against nine interceptions, with 18 touchdowns on the ground in a season.

But he too, could be in danger of becoming one-dimensional. He can't be too quick to opt for a QB keeper, but at the same time he can't try to force his pocket passing (see: Vince Young). That balance has been difficult for running quarterbacks to find in the past, as if they have too many skills and, therefore, too many options to choose from.

LeBron has also struggled with balancing his offense. He has the shot-making ability to hit tough jump shots. But when LeBron takes too many jumpers, he invites scorn from his critics, who are all over him because they think he can score at the rim every time—which is unfair to LeBron.

Sometimes the guy just can't win.

I guarantee you Cam Newton will be unfairly judged at times during his career; we'll see how he handles it.

We all know that there's a pretty good chance Newton was aware that his father was receiving money from Auburn, and whether he should have been allowed to play is still an open debate. But based on those circumstances, people will "hate" on him for it, much like LeBron is being maligned.

Fortunately for the Pro Bowler, he hasn't done anything controversial during his professional career yet (like proclaim his success will be easy), so until then he will get the benefit of the doubt, unlike LeBron.

Cam Newton is one of the most exciting talents we've ever seen and can be a GOAT, but hopefully he doesn't make a mess of it as James has.   

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