Jordan vs. James
Michael Jordan, in his prime, was thought of as one of the greatest basketball champions of all time. A shooting guard, standing at six-six, Jordan was able to out play anyone in his position. He started his career at the University of North Carolina, where he helped his team win a national championship. He then was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984-85 season. While playing for the Bulls, Jordan received many awards such as, MVP, five championships, Olympic gold medals, slam dunk contests, and many more defensive and offensive awards. Jordan simply dominated the nineties and left the game as a NBA Finals winner in 1998.
It was not until the year 2002 that the NBA was able to find someone to match Jordan’s dazzling acrobatic style of play. His name is Lebron James. Lebron, who plays shooting guard and small forward, stands at an athletic six-eight. James, however, never played in the NCAA. He was drafted straight out of high school in the 2003-04 season, by the Cleveland Cavaliers. James is already on the road to success by achieving co-rookie of the year, and he appeared in the Olympics. James is expected to be a champion, but he may not have what it takes to become a real champion such as Michael Jordan was. Before Jordan or James can be categorized as a champion, they have to be able to handle pressure, fame, and maintain a positive relationship with their team. When
comparing Jordan and James’ clutch capabilities, or their ability to handle pressure at key times, Jordan has the upper hand.
First of all, Jordan won an NCAA championship with a heroic last second shot. To be able to keep composure and focus on one shot under those types of conditions is not an easy task. Amazingly, he made clutch shots time and time again for the Bulls. Being able to think and react in highly pressured situations for James on the other hand, has not been accomplished. I have seen James, with the ball in the final seconds of the game, and he was unable to hit the winning shot. You can see the pressure all over his face. He does not have the ability to plan and if necessary, counter plan under extreme conditions. A good example is in this past year’s Olympics he clearly did not play like a champion. When the team was down, he didn’t try to take the game over like a champion would.
When looking at Jordan and James’ fame, they are both equally popular, but it is how they handle the fame that sets them apart. Jordan is a class act, meaning he carries himself with honorable pride, not vanity. After Jordan signed with Nike his game only got better. He never felt as if he was too good for improvement and showed everyone great respect. James differs after he signed with Nike, his game flat-lined. He never showed any kind of improvement in his game, and his team never got any better. It seemed like he only tried when he had the ball, especially when his team was getting blown out.
A champion should never be without the support of his teammates. After observing Jordan and James’ relationship with their teammates, Jordan’s team proved to
have more chemistry. Jordan was able to make his teammates better by getting them more involved in the game, and they loved him for that. Instead of taking the final shot of the game himself, the Bulls won many games with Jordan assisting the goal. James’ team, however, does not come together as well. He has not grasped his teams trust. He is trying to be the savior too much he does not understand, like Jordan, that his team is only as good as the weakest player. James needs to give and go instead of taking the shots.
Michael Jordan and Lebron James are about the same height, play the same position, and both wear the number 23. They are great basketball players, but what makes a real champion is in your performance under pressure, your adjustment to fame, and the relationship with your teammates. Jordan has successfully conquered these goals.