There is a debate raging in the media over who is the greatest NBA player of all time: His Airness Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
In terms of statistics, James advocates hold an advantage. However, Jordan’s 6-0 NBA finals record stands alone in legacy. Some might also argue that Wilt Chamberlain – the only player to ever record 100 points in a single game – and Bill Russell – the centerpiece in 11 championships with the Boston Celtics – might also deserve consideration.
As a member of the Chicago Bulls, Jordan was a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, while James has secured the honor four times and is still an active player leaving the door open to possibly exceed Jordan. Russell also won the award five times, matching Jordan. Chamberlain secured the MVP title four times, like James. The record for most MVP honors is held by NBA Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – another strong contender for the unofficial title of Greatest of All Time – with six awards.
I live in Chicago where Jordan played most of his career, and the walls of my home are adorned with Michael Jordan posters. So, as one might expect, I side with the Jordan being the best of all time. But that is not to take away from the superhuman basketball talents of King James.
What some may find interesting is that while I greatly respect the talents and accomplishments of both Jordan and James, neither one ranks as my favorite player of all time. That honor I bestow on Clyde Drexler who played most of his career for the Portland Trailblazers, leading them to multiple NBA Finals appearances. He finally won a championship with the Houston Rocket.
No, I don’t think that Clyde was a better player than Jordan or James, although he was an amazing player. The reason Clyde the Glide earns my respect as my favorite all time player is his off-court demeanor. Drexler was such a gentleman and giving man off the court, that it propels him past Jordan and James in my favoritism.
Once when I wrote Clyde a letter thanking him for being such an inspiration to me after my father disowned me, he actually called me and left a message on my voice mail thanking me for the letter and wishing me good tidings. And when I wrote to him years later to request an autographed photo for my son, he sent one without delay – not charging for it like so many players today do. That’s a role model…a man who gives back to the people who he inspired.
So, you see, Jordan may be the greatest basketball player of all time, but in my opinion Drexler was the greatest person to ever play the game. And, I think that matters.
Peace. Love. Trust.
That is so wonderful that Drexler took the time to do what he did. Off court is just as important–you’re correct there, Rikki Lee!