Patrick Beverley has heard the objections to restarting the NBA season. He has heard the arguments. He also knows that they’re ultimately going to fall on deaf ears.
Why? Beverley had a funny take on Sunday that essentially explains why the NBA is almost guaranteed to return — LeBron James, the league’s biggest star, is coming back. That means everyone else is, too.
Hoopers say what y’all want. If @KingJames said he hooping. We all hooping. Not Personal only BUSINESS #StayWoke
This is probably about right. James is the sport’s most influential player, and a lot of guys will follow his lead. Sure, that will put him at odds with one of his former teammates, but that’s not necessarily new.
On the surface, James is 35 and knows he has few chances left in his career to win another title and add to his legacy as a player. He doesn’t want to see that opportunity lost, especially when his Los Angeles Lakers have a great shot to win it all. Conversely, Irving is 28 and out for the season with a shoulder injury, so not playing wouldn’t change much for him.
But beyond that, James did not participate in Irving’s phone call on Friday because he feels differently from his former teammate.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick says James believes he can continue to make a difference in society while also playing basketball at the same time. Whether it was partnering with Akron for the “I Promise School” or more recently leading an athlete voting movement, James has been doing that throughout his career.
Why would playing prevent him from continuing to do so?
James and others likely feel that they have been able to use the stage the NBA provides them to build popularity and a platform to share their ideas and beliefs. Playing basketball and making a difference can work hand-in-hand.
As for whether or not the season is resumed, we will soon find out. The vote was unanimous — 28-0 — from the players agreeing to the resumed season. Approximately 80 players joined Irving’s call. Will that be enough to keep the season from resuming? There would be significant financial implications to such a move.
Smith is a free agent right now, but is still close with James. He’s apparently getting to know Davis as well, which is probably going to spark some rumors going forward.
We don’t really know if NBA teams will be allowed to add more players if and when the season resumes. That said, last we heard, the Lakers were taking a look at Smith, so maybe this is a preview of something.
Doc Rivers played against Michael Jordan during his career and has coached against LeBron James on numerous occasions, so he has seen enough of both NBA legends to formulate an educated opinion on them. And based on everything Doc has seen, he has no problem labeling one the greatest of all time.
Rivers shared his thoughts on the Jordan vs. LeBron debate in a recent appearance on “SportsCenter,” and you could say he took the easy way out. He gave the nod to Jordan but said he can see how people would make the argument for LeBron.
“I played against Michael and have always put Michael as No. 1, but that shouldn’t take anything away from LeBron or Magic (Johnson) or Kareem (Abdul Jabar), who I think gets overlooked way too much as well … Kobe as well,” Rivers said. “But Michael, to me, is the greatest player. He’s the GOAT. It’s OK that everyone measures themselves against him.
“You can obviously make an argument for LeBron. Me, I’m always taking MJ until I see something better.”
Most people point to championships when comparing Jordan to LeBron, which makes sense. Jordan won six titles, whereas LeBron has three. Some people think LeBron is a better player overall but not as much of a winner as Jordan, and one former NBA player recently made a compelling argument for why he would place LeBron above Jordan.
The debate will never end, and there is no right or wrong answer. Even if LeBron won three more titles, plenty of people would still say Jordan is the GOAT. While it’s fun to hear opinions from people who have experience playing and coaching with or against both, there are always going to be arguments for both sides.
“Oh man, MJ’s the greatest,” said Haslem. “You think about everything that he’s done, and I thought I saw it firsthand, and I thought I remember every moment, and I thought I remember being in that situation, and then when you see it again, it just lets you know. He’s the greatest.”
Haslem previously referred to Jordan more specifically as “the greatest of all-time” in an Instagram Live chat with Richard Jefferson earlier this month.
Udonis Haslem says he would’ve put hands on Michael Jordan if he played with him
“Mike the greatest of all time. But you can’t call me the b-word and the h-word. Nah, alright Mike. We gonna have to square off.” pic.twitter.com/cwGOBTo1t8
The 39-year-old Haslem, one of the oldest active NBA players, was teammates with James for The King’s four seasons in Miami from 2010 to 2014. Haslem and James won four Eastern Conference titles and two championships together, even starting next to each other during many a playoff battle.
“The Last Dance” has reignited, among other things, the debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all-time. Recently, another one-time Heat player weighed in on the subject, actually going in the opposite direction.
LeBron James will be remembered as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, but the three-time champion was also a star football player in high school. His incredible strength and athletic ability have led to many a hypothetical discussion about how he would fare in the NFL, and there was a point when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was willing to give LeBron a chance to showcase his skills on the gridiron.
During the latest episode of UNINTERRUPTED’s “WRTS: After Party,” LeBron admitted he has dreamed about playing in the NFL. He said he actually started training to play football during the NBA lockout in 2011. LeBron’s business partner Maverick Carter was then asked if he ever got the call from LeBron about potentially playing in the NFL, and Carter said he knows James received a formal contract offer from Jerry Jones. LeBron framed the paperwork and hung it in his office.
There was a lot of talk about LeBron giving football a shot in 2011, so we’re not surprised Jones made him a contract offer. Jones obviously knew there was virtually no chance James would accept the deal, so it was probably nothing more than a PR stunt. Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did something similar when he sent LeBron a customized gift the same year.