Last Night — LeBron Became the Greatest, not the "Best"

Genius Turner
Last night in Los Angeles, LeBron James officially scored more points than any other player in NBA history.Photo by(Erik Drost/Flickr)

Last night the NBA world crowned King James the "GOAT," not the Best

Los Angeles, CA — “LeBron James … a shot at history… And there it is!”

Brian Anderson announced the shot heard around the world, on TNT. “LeBron stands alone. The NBA’s all-time scoring record now belongs to LeBron James!”

Anderson could've added, "And the debate for greatest of all time also belongs to LeBron."

For Jordan lovers around the globe, ahem, the "GOAT debate" is now over. Done. Finito. Quite simply, Jordan came first. He put the high score up. James came second. Studied "Your Airness." And now — he's snatched Jordan's high score down.


"It's never been a rapper this good for this long..." Jay-Z once rapped, in defense of his GOAT status. As for Mr. Carter, he sat courtside holding a glass of pricy wine — cheering his pal on. And as "Bron Bron" pulled up for the record-breaking jumper, Jay-Z presumably mumbled, "It's never been a basketball player this good for this long."

LeBron's now scored more points than everybody. In history. And oh, as if to add another gem to the King's already diamond-studded crown, a while back he even surpassed the NBA's greatest passer, Magic Johnson, in assists too.

Talk about having a resume for the ages...

..."All hail the king!" Magic presumably said, last night. But even if Magic tried his hardest, he couldn't remember to forget why: every head must bow and every tongue must confess — Michael Jeffrey Jordan remains the best to ever do it.

The Jordan vs. LeBron debate epitomizes having an apple-to-oranges argument.Photo by(Daydaydiscgolf/Wikimedia Commons)

Last night seated courtside on celebrity row was none other than Floyd "Money" Mayweather. As for how a boxer factors in to this hotly-contested debate, about hoops, I'll give a one-word answer — undefeated.

Once while riding the subway, I overheard a gravel-voiced New Yorker remark, "After he embarrassed Chico twenty years ago, I knew Mayweather was the best to ever do it. I never lost money betting on 'Money.' "

Indeed, Money May fought professionally 50 times. And if by chance you bet "smart money" that Money would win every match — you would've won too. Every. Single. Time.

Michael Jordan is the Floyd Mayweather of basketball. Bingo!

Jordan was undefeated when the stakes were highest, posting a perfect NBA Finals record: 6 wins, 0 losses. LeBron, on the other hand, suffered several defeats when all the chips were pushed to the table's center.

Ahh, but as Einstein warned, “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted."

Jordan's not the best due to sheer numbers any more than Mayweather deserves the right to be called "TBE" — The Best Ever.

Jordan's the best basketball player in history for one reason:

Michael Jordan could put the basketball in the goal better than any hooper ever.

And make no mistake about it: if winning is the goal of basketball, putting the ball in the goal more than the opposition is the only way to achieve that goal.

Crowning Jordan the "best," then, on such a basis equates to simple logic. Better yet, common sense.

Jordan never lost in the NBA championship because, as Charles Barkley once put it, you couldn't stop the man from scoring. Simple. This makes Jordan the best, not the greatest.

Mayweather is the "best" boxer for the same similar, simple reason.

"Floyd can hit you but you can't hit Floyd," boxing trainer Naazim Richardson once said. After all, the goal of boxing is "hit and don't get hit." This makes Floyd the best, not the greatest. And Floyd knew this to be true, which explains why he coined the expression "TBE."

Like fellow Capricorn LeBron James, Muhammad Ali's storied career was too great to be challenged. Not even an undefeated record and superhuman boxing skills could dethrone "the Greatest." After all, "greatness" is defined by not only longevity but also by impact that transcends the sport itself.

LeBron is the "Ali" of Basketball

During the hotly-contested 1990 senate race in North Carolina, Harvey Gantt battled Jesse Helms, an openly racist Republican. When Jordan, then the most powerful athlete in the world and a native North Carolinian, was asked for a comment, he infamously said, "Republicans buy sneakers, too."


Jordan would later explain: “I never thought of myself as an activist, I thought of myself as a basketball player.” Jordan's point was valid. But it's also where he planted the seed decades ago for LeBron to one day be crowned the GOAT of Basketball.

Unlike Jordan, LeBron proudly wears the "activist" badge. When Laura Ingraham told Lebron to "shut up and dribble," instead of playing activist, similar to Ali he refused to stay in an athlete's place.

"Michael Jordan is the best athlete," said Wilbon, "but Muhammad Ali is the greatest."

Wilbon went on to explain "greatness" transcends mere athleticism. After all, greatness isn't measured by fame and money but by courage and heart. Character, then, ultimately judges greatness.

Circumstances reveal character...

...In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military. He opposed fighting in a war. Stripped of his heavyweight championship, he then faced prison time. Ali paid the ultimate price. In short, sacrificing the prime of his boxing career reflects why suffering is the price of greatness.

No wonder "Money," not activist, Mayweather gracefully bowed out when it came to contesting Ali for GOAT status. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, after all.

"GOAT" is a crown not so much defined by outright skill level as it is the intangibles. Because if you know boxing, you know Ali on his best day wasn't as skilled as Mayweather. No way, no how! The same goes for LeBron when compared with Mike.

It's no accident LeBron wears Jordan's iconic jersey number, 23. LeBron even quietly confessed to chasing "the ghost that played in Chicago.' " But on this day, a mere week before Jordan's birthday, the chase is over.

Jordan is the best.

LeBron is the greatest.

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