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Lebron. 
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Post Lebron.
The previous NBA thread is bit heavy to lug back up to the top, so here we are. Petey has (facetiously) blamed me for the lack of NBA talk, and I (non-facetiously) take some of the blame indeed. I've admittedly seen less of the NBA this year than usual due to the excitement and business of coaching/work/life, but again, here we are.

And here's my question:

Has there ever been a larger gap between the best player in the game and the next best player as there is right now?

I submit that there has not.

Please understand that right now is the key phrase here. Kobe or Duncan at their peak would certainly be in the talk if they were currently at the peak of their powers. But to take this season as a singular entity, have we ever seen anything like this? Durant, CP3, etc etc... extremely and incredibly good, but not on Bron's level, in my mind, and not really close. Lebron has been the best defender in the league this year. And stats are a skewed thing in basketball, but Bron's numbers are just insane -- 18, 7 & 7 is an off night for him right now. And on the night's he's "off" he's still been their (successful) closer. He is so far above any player in the game right now at getting easy points, which is the real key, to me. I've been his biggest critic in the world, especially in regards to his jumpers, but now that he's knocking them down with regularity, even from 3? Just insane. He's finally earning the "we are all witnesses" statement.

If Bron dominates like he has been and wins the ring with relative ease this year (which I completely expect)? Then this is a dominant season in the modern era unlike any we have ever seen in a literal sense of the word "unlike" -- MJ just didn't do the things Bron is doing. Again, I think the most important point in defending and defining Bron's greatness is that he scores with such ease. He's bigger than Karl Malone ever was and he's one of the fastest guys in the league, and he's finally learned how to use that. And the scariest thing is that he still resorts to bad shots at times. This is not his peak.

But back to my original question... have we seen anything like this in terms of gap between the best player the next best? MJ, yes, is the best player ever, but be it Magic or Barclay or Malone or whomever, I feel like someone was always a closer #2 than anyone is to Bron right now. Am I crazy?

I don't know that they'll set the winning streak record, although if Lebron valued that above all else I believe they could this year. And really, it's hard to imagine them losing more than a couple games in the playoffs at this point. OKC is not as good as last year, San Antonio can't match up, NY isn't doing it... who else is left? It's a bit of a down year in terms of league depth, but Miami is scarier than ever. Who knows where Lebron will be playing, but can he win the next 3 rings? Absolutely he can.

Can he pass MJ on the all-time list?

Well, we're in a different culture and no "new" player in any sport will be a consensus #1 in the way MJ has been. But if Bron rattles off rings and dominates like he has been, and if he stays healthy and keeps adding moves (both of which seem like sure-things at this point)... certainly we have to concede his ceiling is not below the Best Player Ever, right?

Does a part of me still hope that they implode against a lesser team in the playoffs, Wade gets hurt, Bron returns to a horribly-run Cleveland team and never wins a non-shortened-season title? Sure, that'd be funny. But I think we're all kidding ourselves at this point. These are your 2013 Champions.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:25 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
Hard question to answer. I've got everything you can possibly own on Jordan which includes about 30 of his best games in full, and obviously all his highlights that everyone's seen. I think Jordan was at his absolute best as an individual, when the Bulls won their second ring and from what I can gather there was genuinely daylight to a possible second. I’d nominate Larry Bird as his second but I really don’t know. When The Bulls won their fourth to sixth ring he was more of a team player and had lost some of his incredible athleticism. He was still the greatest sportsman in history from the fourth to sixth ring IMO. (Federer 2004 – 2007 is comparable but not coming close to Rafa on clay will justifiably always make the doubters doubt).

Watching Lebron at the moment feels like witnessing something special but not fully acknowledging it. He get's things done so machine like at times it's hard to assess. He doesn't have Jordan's highlights reel or flair and never will, but the comparison is worthy at this point of career.

From where I sit, (and I know as much about basketball than a lot of you would about AFL, so take it as a grain of salt) an aging Kobe still seems a lot closer #2 than an aging Larry Bird was, when MJ was in his individual prime.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:18 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
I've probably watched less NBA this year than any year I can remember since I graduated high school. Mind you, this still means I watch at least parts of games 2-3 nights a week, but that's very low for me. I still read everything I can on the sport, and haven't lost any kind of passion for the game. It's just...Lebron. He's made this season kind of arbitrary. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Right now, I'd say Miami has a 90-95% chance of winning the title. No one in the East is going to give them a serious challenge, even if I love the Pacers as a team. They'll face either OKC or San Antonio in the Finals. The Thunder just aren't going to beat them in a 7 game series, mostly because Lebron is head and shoulders better than Durant right now. The Heat's big 3 is better than OKC's, it's really that simple. If OKC still had James Harden? Well, that would make it pretty interesting, but I digress. San Antonio can't match up individually, but they have the experience and depth to give Miami a series. I still think it would take a miracle for them to win 4 out of 7 against Miami, but I give them the best shot.

More to Shade's question - I think there's quite a bit of merit to this idea. Lebron isn't just the best player in the league right now, he's the best (or one of) at virtually every aspect of the game. As Shade said, he's the league's best defender, one of the best scorers, one of the best passers, and one of the best rebounders. He knows when to play in cruise control to conserve energy, and knows when to assert himself. He's finally become everything he was hyped up to be. I'm not the guy's biggest fan, but I can at least respect him and find him easier to tolerate now that he's earned the praise that was heaped on him out of high school. He's easily the best player we've seen since MJ.

I'd say Durant is the league's second best player right now, but it's so obvious when OKC and Miami play who the best player on the court is. That alone speaks volumes. Jordan always had another top 5 (Bird or Magic), top 15 (Hakeem), or top 20 (Malone) player of all time playing against him when he was winning titles. Lebron has Kobe, but he's clearly not the same as he was. He had Dirk, but again, he's aging. I have no doubts Durant will go down as a top 20 guy of all time, but, as of now, he's just scratching that surface and beginning to enter that realm while Lebron is at the full peak of his powers.

I still don't think he can pass Jordan for the best ever crown. Jordan, even when he was still playing, always had a kind of mythical aura surrounding him that isn't quite there with Lebron. There's all kinds of stories about guys talking shit to MJ one game and then getting 50 dropped on them the next time he saw them. And he was likely to dunk on them too. His will to win and assassin-like mentality cannot be overstated, or topped. Lebron's wins because he's perfectly built and has the skills to be the best in the sport. Jordan won because he wanted to. That's the best I can explain it, if it makes any sense.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:03 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
PeachyPete wrote:
I still don't think he can pass Jordan for the best ever crown. Jordan, even when he was still playing, always had a kind of mythical aura surrounding him that isn't quite there with Lebron. There's all kinds of stories about guys talking shit to MJ one game and then getting 50 dropped on them the next time he saw them. And he was likely to dunk on them too. His will to win and assassin-like mentality cannot be overstated, or topped. Lebron's wins because he's perfectly built and has the skills to be the best in the sport. Jordan won because he wanted to. That's the best I can explain it, if it makes any sense.

I don't think I can offer anything to this discussion, but I will say that your one line probably sums up this debate for me. "Lebron's wins because he's perfectly built and has the skills to be the best in the sport. Jordan won because he wanted to." Just brilliantly put in every regard and gave me the goosebumps thinking about Jordan. (And a point of view which applies to a certain extent to Kobe, look at his stats over the past week.)

The only thing I can say is that Lebron may be the pinnacle of the basketball player (and I am going by your guys word on this), but he isn't going to transcend the game itself like Jordan did. Even when I was growing up and had no idea what Basketball was, I knew about Michael Jordan. He was the very essence of the sport itself and took it to levels unheard of before. Every sport has one such player. Football had Pele. I don't think anybody can top Michael in that regard.

Plus I'll always have a soft spot for Kobe but that's because I am a Laker at heart.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:35 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
Quote:
I think Jordan was at his absolute best as an individual, when the Bulls won their second ring and from what I can gather there was genuinely daylight to a possible second. I’d nominate Larry Bird as his second but I really don’t know


Clyde Drexler was the 2nd best player in the '91-'92 season(won league MVP)
As Pete said there were an awful lot of great '2nd best' players in Jordan's time, which is a big check in Jordan's favor in any Lebron comparisons I suppose.

Quote:
Has there ever been a larger gap between the best player in the game and the next best player as there is right now?


I gotta figure the gap was greater when Wilt averaged 50 in a season, no?

Quote:
I still don't think he can pass Jordan for the best ever crown.


If he wins 7 or 8 championships, not sure how anyone can objectively say Jordan was better. and he already has 3 MVP's! at age 28. Jordan had 5. I don't think Lebron winning 8 or 9 is that farfetched, is it? unreal...

Quote:
There's all kinds of stories about guys talking shit to MJ one game and then getting 50 dropped on them the next time he saw them. And he was likely to dunk on them too. His will to win and assassin-like mentality cannot be overstated, or topped. Lebron's wins because he's perfectly built and has the skills to be the best in the sport.


considering he's only 28(I still can't believe that, no matter how often I hear it) his chances of developing an insane aura etc are pretty good. as Shade said, he's not as his peak. The idea of him averaging a triple double for a season 3-4 years from isn't crazy imo. or him averaging 35 in a season or something. I honestly don't know if there is a ceiling to what he can do.

Jordan may always remain more popular, but I have a feeling if there is an AP poll for best athlete of all time in 2050 or another '50 Greatest NBA Players' list around then, Lebron will be ahead of Jordan in both.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
calvero wrote:
I gotta figure the gap was greater when Wilt averaged 50 in a season, no?


But Bill Russell was hands down better than Wilt. Wilt's teams were consistently owned by Russell's, and Wilt was a notorious malcontent with an ego which often was detrimental to his team (see him being determined to lead the league in assists one year after being labeled as selfish...ironic, right?). The year he averaged 50 (the same year he scored 100 in a game) his team lost to Russell's Celtics in the playoffs. Wilt's a top 10 player ever, but Russell is top 2-3.

calvero wrote:
If he wins 7 or 8 championships, not sure how anyone can objectively say Jordan was better. and he already has 3 MVP's! at age 28. Jordan had 5. I don't think Lebron winning 8 or 9 is that farfetched, is it? unreal...


I don't think that's happening because the Heat are likely to break up due financial reasons after next year. You have to remember he only has 1 ring right now. Winning one more than Jordan (7) would require him winning rings into his mid to late 30s with varying supporting casts. It certainly isn't totally out of the realm of possibilities, but it would be a very tough accomplishment. It's also worth nothing that Jordan essentially took 2 years off at the peak of his abilities. You can't say for certain he'd have 2 more rings, but, I mean...he'd have 2 more rings.

As for MVPs, Jordan probably should have had about 7 or 8, but the media often gets tired of giving them out to the same guy year after year. All you need to know about that award is that Steve Nash has as many MVPs as Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant combined.

calvero wrote:
considering he's only 28(I still can't believe that, no matter how often I hear it) his chances of developing an insane aura etc are pretty good. as Shade said, he's not as his peak. The idea of him averaging a triple double for a season 3-4 years from isn't crazy imo. or him averaging 35 in a season or something. I honestly don't know if there is a ceiling to what he can do.


Good point. His legacy is really just starting to be written. It took him longer than expected to reach this level, but he's here and still pretty young. It isn't fair to write him off completely.

I believe he could definitely average a triple double in a season if he really focused on passing and only taking over in crunch time. Assuming he's on a team with a different make up (more traditional in terms of positions), he can play big minutes at power forward and would easily get 10 boards a game. And if he ever averages less than 10 points a game, I'll shoot myself in the face. The assists would be trickier, but they're also likely to increase when he's not playing with another ball dominant player like Wade. If every possession is going through Lebron? Then yeah, I can absolutely see it.

That said, this is his 10th year already, and most guys are who they are at that point. He's basically at 27, 7, and 7 for his career. A triple double for a season is pretty unlikely.

We also have no idea how he'll age and when you consider at 28 he's played 10 seasons and many, many playoff games, you have to factor in that he's a much older 28 than most. What happens when his athleticism starts to fade? He'll still be a great player because he's so skilled, but will he still be good enough to win rings and MVPs?


Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
Michael Jordan had Pippen for all six rings, and Dennis Rodman for his last 3; but the question is, do any of you think Lebron would have won a ring by now had he stayed with Cleveland? He chose to go to Miami to join a freaking All Star- team, and still lost to the Mavericks that season.

And where does Kareem fit in the discussion?


Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:23 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
Shade2 wrote:
Can he pass MJ on the all-time list?

Well, we're in a different culture and no "new" player in any sport will be a consensus #1 in the way MJ has been. But if Bron rattles off rings and dominates like he has been, and if he stays healthy and keeps adding moves (both of which seem like sure-things at this point)... certainly we have to concede his ceiling is not below the Best Player Ever, right?


I'm a firm believer that MJ was passed by a guy named Tiger Woods (and somebody else mentioned Federer, but I think it is tiger for most dominant in any sport).

Look at all his accomplishments from 2000-2010. And now look at his age, and realize he will still be one of the top players in the world for the next 15 fucking years He will own every single golfing record there is, and that includes beating Jack's 18 majors. He has 4 to go, and last year he already eclipsed Jack's all time win record.

Jordan was dominant, but nobody owned a sport like tiger.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Shade2 wrote:
Can he pass MJ on the all-time list?

Well, we're in a different culture and no "new" player in any sport will be a consensus #1 in the way MJ has been. But if Bron rattles off rings and dominates like he has been, and if he stays healthy and keeps adding moves (both of which seem like sure-things at this point)... certainly we have to concede his ceiling is not below the Best Player Ever, right?


I'm a firm believer that MJ was passed by a guy named Tiger Woods (and somebody else mentioned Federer, but I think it is tiger for most dominant in any sport).

Look at all his accomplishments from 2000-2010. And now look at his age, and realize he will still be one of the top players in the world for the next 15 fucking years He will own every single golfing record there is, and that includes beating Jack's 18 majors. He has 4 to go, and last year he already eclipsed Jack's all time win record.

Jordan was dominant, but nobody owned a sport like tiger.


I agree that Tiger will set all the records and be the most dominant stats-wise. But Federer is better in his sport than Woods is in his. Even Woods has said so.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:17 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
Not really pertaining to basketball but on-topic to the points being discussed, how can you objectively compare players across different generations and eras of a sport?

I was having this discussion in my football forum after reading an article where the author stated that Barcelona's trio of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta is better than Manchester United's Holy Trinity of the 60s - George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, and Denis Law. I've also heard reports that Messi is indubitably the greatest footballer of all time. It is reports like that which always blow my fuse because I always maintain that it is futile compare players across different eras and say one is greater than the other.

Taking Tennis as an example, after 2002, ATP slowed down the court and ball speed and stopped regulating string equipment as the induction of luxilon and other types of strings have allowed for easier control of the ball. With that in mind, I cannot objectively state that Federer is better than Sampras or Agassi or that they're better than McEnroe and Borg who all played in different eras.

When that is the case in individual sports where there is only one person who decides his own destiny, how can you make comparisons in team sports where more variables come into play: what was the team morale, of what quality were the other players he played with, what were the rules of the game, what was the equipment used and so on.

Returning to the football example, I cannot say Messi is better than Pele or George Best. For one, both of them played in an era of leather balls when boots were simply shoes with studs, and they had the shit kicked out of them by defenders unlike today's players who get so much protection from referees. Modern players get individually crafted shoes for their feet and the ball is aerodynamically designed to get the best air movement possible when they strike it. Older players also played in an era of muddy pitches unlike the superior grass you have these days thanks to the advent of technology.

On the other hand, modern players have more mental pressure because their every move is watched by the Paparazzi and analyzed by millions of experts and dilettantes alike because of the Internet. That is something the older players did not have to contend with. So I have a huge amount of respect for today's players in their ability to play through insane pressure like that.

My point is not that the modern players aren't great. Each one of them is great and could be legends of the sport in their own right. My point is that it is futile to compare them to players of an older era. I can state that Lebron James is the best player of his generation just like Kobe Bryant was the best player of his just like Michael Jordan was the best player of his just like Bird/Magic before him and Wilt/Russell before them. But I definitely have no right to say that one of these is better than the other from the previous era, nor do I have any inclination of doing so.

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:11 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
Shade2 wrote:
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Shade2 wrote:
Can he pass MJ on the all-time list?

Well, we're in a different culture and no "new" player in any sport will be a consensus #1 in the way MJ has been. But if Bron rattles off rings and dominates like he has been, and if he stays healthy and keeps adding moves (both of which seem like sure-things at this point)... certainly we have to concede his ceiling is not below the Best Player Ever, right?


I'm a firm believer that MJ was passed by a guy named Tiger Woods (and somebody else mentioned Federer, but I think it is tiger for most dominant in any sport).

Look at all his accomplishments from 2000-2010. And now look at his age, and realize he will still be one of the top players in the world for the next 15 fucking years He will own every single golfing record there is, and that includes beating Jack's 18 majors. He has 4 to go, and last year he already eclipsed Jack's all time win record.

Jordan was dominant, but nobody owned a sport like tiger.


I agree that Tiger will set all the records and be the most dominant stats-wise. But Federer is better in his sport than Woods is in his. Even Woods has said so.


You also have to remember that Tiger plays golf. That's a game, not a sport. Any "sport" that allows you to compare someone like John Daly to a world class athlete is automatically lesser. They walk around for 3-4 hours and hit a ball. There's nothing athletic about that endeavor.

That said, Tiger hasn't won a major since 2008, and clearly hasn't been the same player since his scandal. I'm not so sure he's going to break Jack's record. It's certainly still possible, and maybe even likely, but not even close to the stone cold lock it was 4-5 years ago.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:09 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
Shade2 wrote:

I agree that Tiger will set all the records and be the most dominant stats-wise. But Federer is better in his sport than Woods is in his. Even Woods has said so.


And Woods wouldn't lie. Seriously though, as great as Federer was from 2004 - 2008, which is the greatest all round game we've ever seen, from that point on his record in majors against Nadal is embarrassing. Without looking it up I'd guess it to be 7-1 in Nadal's favor. It was okay to give Federer a pass on clay against Nadal, where he simply can't go with him physically over five and give's in half way through the third, but when Nadal beat him in the 2008 Wimbledon final, when Federer was still well in his prime, it fucked with Federer's head.

The only person in history that should be a genuine match up for Federer on grass is Sampras in his prime, but a determined Spaniard with the heart of Ali refused to lose to him. Beating him six months later on hard court at the Australian Open sealed the deal, Nadal has a physiological advantage over Federer he can't handle.

What’s really scary is the monster these two players’, Federer and Nadal, whom I consider to the best and third best player’s of all time, have created. Djokovic is a mixture of the two. Federer’s shot making, (without the volleying) and much heavier on his back hand and Nadal’s endurance and heart.

His sportsmanship will never rival these two living legends, but he’s going to end up with at least 15 slams, and his best is better than both of them.

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:25 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
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You also have to remember that Tiger plays golf. That's a game, not a sport. Any "sport" that allows you to compare someone like John Daly to a world class athlete is automatically lesser. They walk around for 3-4 hours and hit a ball. There's nothing athletic about that endeavor.

That said, Tiger hasn't won a major since 2008, and clearly hasn't been the same player since his scandal. I'm not so sure he's going to break Jack's record. It's certainly still possible, and maybe even likely, but not even close to the stone cold lock it was 4-5 years ago.


Jesus, another golf isn't a sport argument.

Golf is a sport. They walk around for 4-5 hours for 4 days straight (under IMMENSE pressure), not to mention the practice rounds they put in the week prior. During that time they are not just walking around, they are putting intense torsional forces on their bodies every swing. Then they travel to the next event the next week, all year long. Charles Howell III said he takes one week off a year...and works from 7-7 the rest of the year. And you are going to use John Daly? Ok...what about the 350lb linemen on every football team:

Image

Terrence Cody, nose tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, Superbowl champs. He is only on the field for about 30 minutes (game time, 2 hours real time) every week (plus practice). The rest of the time, he is sitting on a bench wresting. Is football a sport? Of course it is. It is comprised of world class athletes (like Megatron), and fat slobs with athletic ability, like Cody. The same is true of the sport of golf. John Daly has amazing hand-eye coordination, and the athletic ability he needs to hit the ball a country mile.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:49 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Golf is a sport. They walk around for 4-5 hours for 4 days straight (under IMMENSE pressure), not to mention the practice rounds they put in the week prior. During that time they are not just walking around, they are putting intense torsional forces on their bodies every swing. Then they travel to the next event the next week, all year long. Charles Howell III said he takes one week off a year...and works from 7-7 the rest of the year.


Walking around a lot, being outside, and not taking a lot of time off doesn't constitute anything being a sport. I guess landscaping is a sport now too?

There are literally millions of people who, at virtually any point in their lives, could play 4 rounds of golf 4 days in a row, they just aren't that good at the game. It takes no physical capabilities that a normal person doesn't have.

roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Terrence Cody, nose tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, Superbowl champs. He is only on the field for about 30 minutes (game time, 2 hours real time) every week (plus practice). The rest of the time, he is sitting on a bench wresting. Is football a sport? Of course it is. It is comprised of world class athletes (like Megatron), and fat slobs with athletic ability, like Cody. The same is true of the sport of golf. John Daly has amazing hand-eye coordination, and the athletic ability he needs to hit the ball a country mile.


Again, the amount of time something takes has absolutely no bearing on the debate. Cody gets on the field and uses actual athletic ability to perform. He runs, jumps, and pushes people around with his body. He might be morbidly obese, but he uses his body in an athletic manner. John Daly is just a fat guy who can hit a golf ball a country mile. You said it yourself, Cody is a fat slob with athletic ability. John Daly is just a fat slob.

Here's the infamous Andre Smith 40 yard dash (set to the Chariots of Fire theme). His man boobs are hilarious. He's still more of an athlete than Tiger Woods.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
They walk around for 4-5 hours for 4 days straight


Any human between the ages of 10-69, barring illness/disability, should be able to do that. If they can't due to weight/lack of endurance/etc then they are just living an unhealthy lifestyle. I know that's not your whole argument, but it has no bearing on any of this.

I agree with all the Petey said. Serious question, though, Mr. Beef: is billiards a sport? Horseshoes? Target shooting? Mini golf? The first two at least have an inherent opponent, but that's not the only criteria for a sport. Golf is an activity, a game, and can be played competitively, but I don't see how it is a sport. It requires a skill, but so does shuffling cards.

Athleticism isn't totally relevant to me, in that anyone can, in theory, throw a football or catch one or tackle someone. However, I do think it's relevant that if you pulled a random person off the street they'd stand a theoretical chance beating a pro for one hole. An average person could get killed in one play in the four major sports.

I also think the amount of time spent practicing/playing isn't the best argument. Sure, many golfers golf all day in training, while a football or basketball player may only play their game a couple hours a day. But it's a completely different type of workout required.

Finally, the "performing under pressure" is a ridiculous argument to me. A "professional" golfer should never be praised for making an easy put just because he's "under pressure." I'd say the same thing about free throws in basketball, by the way. If you're truly a pro, you make the damn shot -- and if you miss, it should be because it's that 1 of 100 you miss, not because you got the yips. If it was all about being able to perform under pressure, competitive debate and spelling bees would be sports.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:51 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
These are taken from wikipedia:

"Sport (or, primarily in North America, sports) is all forms of competitive physical activity which,[1] through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and provide entertainment to participants.[2] Hundreds of sports exist, from those requiring only two participants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals."

"The modern Olympic Games (French: les Jeux olympiques, JO[1]) is the leading international sporting event featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions."

Shade, you mentioned target shooting. It is an Olympic sport. Curling is a winter Olympic sport. Guess which sport is coming back to the Olympics in 2016? Golf.

I understand how someone could have a hard time believing that Golf is a sport....but it does take athletic ability, just not running and jumping. Tiger Woods said the best golfer from another sport he ever played with was John Smoltz. Ole Smoltz thought he was good enough to enter some nationwide (now Web.com tour tournaments, which is the development tour for the PGA). Well, he got destroyed. Tony Romo, Cowboys QB, is widely regarded as the best golfer playing another sport. He is a scratch golfer, and every year he tries to qualify for the U.S. Open. He has yet to quality.

Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer and Olympian ever known. He is definitely an athlete, but do any of you think he could enter another sport? Could anybody on any NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS keep up with him in the pool? (He is currently taking up golf, but so far it's pretty funny watching him play).


Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Lebron.
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
I understand how someone could have a hard time believing that Golf is a sport....but it does take athletic ability, just not running and jumping. Tiger Woods said the best golfer from another sport he ever played with was John Smoltz. Ole Smoltz thought he was good enough to enter some nationwide (now Web.com tour tournaments, which is the development tour for the PGA). Well, he got destroyed. Tony Romo, Cowboys QB, is widely regarded as the best golfer playing another sport. He is a scratch golfer, and every year he tries to qualify for the U.S. Open. He has yet to quality.


We're just going to disagree that golf takes athletic ability. Walking around for a few hours and swinging a club aren't things I consider athletic.

More to my point, Smoltz and Romo can both go out and pretty easily perform the tasks required to play many rounds of golf. This is true for the huge majority of people on Earth. It's why the game is so popular among older men. It's a leisure activity. An incredibly difficult one that requires an enormous amount of skill in order to compete at it's highest level, but that's not the same as athletic ability.

roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer and Olympian ever known. He is definitely an athlete, but do any of you think he could enter another sport? Could anybody on any NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS keep up with him in the pool? (He is currently taking up golf, but so far it's pretty funny watching him play).


It isn't about how well you do in another sport. It's about the physical toll playing said sport takes on your body. Any of the sports you just mentioned, in addition to requiring a certain degree of skill, rely on participants to use a wide number of athletic abilities. Golf is just about the skills required to be good without any of the athletic abilities. The hardest thing about golf, physically, is walking around.


Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:32 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
PeachyPete wrote:
An incredibly difficult one that requires an enormous amount of skill in order to compete at it's highest level, but that's not the same as athletic ability.


That's the real key. No one is trying to say or imply that golf, by virtue of not being a sport, is in any way easier or less impressive than a more traditional sport. In the US there are roughly the same number of pros in golf as in the major sports, and I certainly don't think golf is inherently "easier" to become a pro in than anything else, although the required physical gifts might be slightly lower for golf on the pro level (i.e. John Daly probably couldn't have been a pro in anything else, whereas Tiger is a legitimate elite athlete in the broad sense). But again, none of that is meant to degrade golf in any way, I just don't think it's a sport. It's hardly "just" a game, but it is closer to a game than a sport to me. An insanely challenging one, but a game.

I don't care much about the specific definition or it being in the Olympics or not, but to key in on only a portion of the definition you provided:

roastbeef_ajus wrote:
competitive physical activity...requiring only two participants


I think you can make a case that golf doesn't quite fall into that. You can be competing against no one and you're undeniably still playing golf. In basketball or football or baseball, you can practice an element of the game, but it's not quite the same thing unless you are actively competing against an opponent. I don't think the guy who holds the record for most basketball free-throws made in a row is an athlete either. That's a skill, and it can be impressive (and certainly it's easier than being consistently good at golf), but it's not a sport, to me.

And I know I'm not the first person by any means to say this, but can anything be considered a "competitive physical activity" when you can play it at the highest level while smoking?


Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:07 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
Ok, I'm from Chicago, so somewhat biased, but the LeBron vs. MJ for GOAT debate will always go to Jordan, as far as I'm concerned. Now LeBron is playing at a higher level than anyone else this season (or perhaps of ANY season), he is simply amazing and a joy for any true BB fan to watch. But there is one thing that will probably never allow Jordan to be dethroned--

6 Finals, 6 rings, 6 Finals MVP awards (and it probably would have been 8 in a row if not for his baseball interlude).

Jordan had a drive and will to win unsurpassed by any other. This "killer instinct" when it counts is something that Kobe has and LeBron did not have, though he arguable has listened to his early criticism and I believe he has it now. You can no longer criticize him for his lack of clutch performance, but it is not something that he has always had.

As for LeBron being better than the current #2, I think it can definitely be argued. Durant's defense has improved greatly and he, like LeBron can score at will. Also, he is on track to be the first 50/40/90% player EVER, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Still, a great time to be a basketball fan (unless you enjoy parity).


Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:18 am
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Post Re: Lebron.
Going out-of-order a bit:

MunichMan wrote:
As for LeBron being better than the current #2, I think it can definitely be argued. Durant's defense has improved greatly and he, like LeBron can score at will. Also, he is on track to be the first 50/40/90% player EVER, which is nothing to sneeze at.


Durant's offensive abilities are certainly impressive (although not as dominant as Bron's). But he doesn't always pass the eye-test, to me, in that there have been games (even games they've won) where he doesn't come across as the best player on the court, much less in the league. I haven't seen that type of performance from Lebron since they lost to Dallas in the Finals. I know that's a bit arbitrary, but that's how I feel.

As for Bron vs MJ... Bron has half the MVPs at 28 years old. He should probably have another right now and should win the next several years, but voters might get bored with im (as they occasionally did with MJ). I absolutely think he can get to 6 titles, but say he "only" gets 3, 6 MVPs, and sets the win streak record this year? Doesn't lose a playoff game? Then you can start to make a case. As you kind said, it is impossible in some people's minds no matter what Lebron does, but a season like this one can swing a lot in his direction.


Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:48 am
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