When comparing some of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, the issue of the game’s evolution always comes into play. Can you ever truly compare two players who played in different eras? On some levels, you can. But for the most part, it’s impossible.
For example, Dennis Rodman told Dan Patrick on Friday that the NBA has changed so much over the 20-25 years that LeBron would be nothing more than “average” if he played during Rodman’s era. Because of that, he said you can’t even compare Jordan and James.
“It’s really not a comparison,” Rodman said. “If LeBron was playing in the late ’80s or early ’90s, he’d be just an average player. What Michael did is more charisma, it’s more articulate. … When Scottie (Pippen) said LeBron is the best player he’s ever seen I’m like, ‘Did you see Michael play? Did you see Michael win 10 scoring titles?’
“The face of the game has changed so much. If Michael played the game today, really? If he played the game at 28 years old today, he would average 40 points a game, probably more — easy.”
Rodman went on to say that teams like the Golden State Warriors back when they had Chris Webber in the mid 1990’s would kick “anybody’s ass” if they played in today’s league because they had size and could play. He also feels he would have no problem locking down LeBron if he had to guard him in his prime, adding that it would be “no contest” if his Bulls faced the team the Miami Heat have today.
“The Heat have better talent than we had, but we had smarter players,” Rodman said. “We’d match up with the Heat easy. That’s easy. I would take Chris Bosh out of his damn game easy. That’s not even a problem. How would Dwyane Wade match up with Scottie Pippen? Really? Scottie Pippen would guard LeBron easy.”
Rodman’s argument obviously has to do more with the evolution of the game than LeBron as an actual player, but I highly doubt he would be average in the 1990s. As several players who played during Rodman’s era have said, LeBron is one of the best players the league has ever seen. Jordan may think he could score 100 points in today’s game and it sounds like Rodman agrees, but we’ll never know. Until somebody invents a time machine, the debate rages on.
Here is Rodman’s interview on “The Dan Patrick Show.”Google+