With the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft the Chicago Bulls select Michael Jordan out of North Carolina. With the thirteenth pick in the 1996 draft the Charlotte Hornets select Kobe Bryant out of Lower Merion high school. The Lakers have traded for the right of G Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac. With the first pick in the 2003 Draft the Cleveland Cavaliers select Lebron James out of St. Vincent St. Mary High School. Now your probably wondering where I am going with this.
Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time...as some might say. There is always going to be an argument with him and Kobe. I just don't believe Lebron will ever be in that argument, and here are my reasons.
A first pick in the draft who had all the media attention behind him. He signed a 90 million dollar contract before touching an NBA basketball with Nike. People expected LeBron to be the next best thing, and people already called him the "King" before he stepped on the court. Jordan was selected after two players, Sam Bowie(bust), and Hakeem "The Dream". Jordan was expected to be a great player, but I bet you both Houston and Portland would go back and get Michael now. Michael Jordan became a marketing whiz, and a phenomenal player who paved the way for Kobe and other great guards today. Kobe was not only drafted 13th but he was traded away to LA for Vlade Divac(my all time worst draft day trade). 13 teams(including Charlotte) passed on Kobe. Kobe was expected to be decent, but I bet you all 13 teams wish they would've drafted Kobe. Kobe and Jordan both exceeded expectations, especially Kobe. I would say Kobe is the biggest steal in NBA draft history.
2.) LeBron didn't establish his own number.
23? Really? That's Jordan's number. Jordan made that number famous. All these little kids wear 23 because of Jordan, not LeBron. Whoever reads this article has a pair of shoe with the number 23 on it because of Jordan..not LeBron. Magic made 32, Kobe made 8, and now 24, and Jordan made the 23. Every great player had their own unique number. (exception larry bird and kareem, but they did play in the same era). LeBron is going to become number 6 next year, so maybe he can establish that? We will see.
3.) LeBron's constant comparison's to the greats at such a young age.
He is not Oscar Robertson, he is not Magic Johnson, he is not Michael Jordan. He is 25 years old. Stop comparing them. I believe after Kobe won the 4th ring last year it was time to compare him to Jordan. Give it some time. Let LeBron win a ring first then we will talk.
4.) Kobe Bryant
LeBron is unlucky. He is in the toughest era of basketball. And he has to go up against the best player in NBA right now..Kobe. It's tough to be the best when you have competition like Kobe, Wade, Bosh, Howard, Dirk, Duncan, Roy, Pierce etc. That is something Jordan didn't really have. No other SG compared to Jordan. LeBron has to stare at Kobe, Paul Pierce, Wade, Vince Carter and other great SG's. It's hard to be considered the best when you go up against all these people and have to consistently beat them to establish yourself. Kobe will hurt LeBron because of the simple fact that he is better. He has a better shot, he's more clutch, and he has more rings. Kobe is older, but Kobe is only going to get better because he is a better shooter than LeBron, which brings me to my final point.
5.) LeBron is too physical
Everyone get's old. LeBron is not an exception to this. LeBron is going to get older and he won't be able to drive in as much. His shot is not as good as Kobe's or Jordan's...hell not even as good as Paul Pierce's. If he doesn't work on his shot, then he is going to decline faster than Shawn Kemp did. Players are getting stronger and more physical and LeBron won't be able to do what he does anymore in the coming years. He doesn't have a fluid release like the other greats..and he won't be able to put his body on the line like that every night. The mix of his age and newer and stronger blood in the NBA will hurt his chances of establishing himself as the best.
LeBron is a great player..arguably the best right now(I don't think so), but he doesn't have the tools Kobe has to become the best, or the tools Jordan had. LeBron has shown all he can do... I don't really see much upside from here. Maybe i'm wrong but..he is not going to be the best of all time, but definitely one of the greatest.