My whole life until now, I thought Michael Jordan was the one basketball player I’d be telling my grandchildren about, and have them listen at my knee, wide-eyed, as I recall wat it was really like to see him play.
The way my generation heard stories about Oscar Robertson, or Jerry West. MJ would be the standard, the legend all others are judged against, and I feel lucky that his career happened during my childhood/early adulthood.
But as it turns out, the grandkids will be hearing about someone else, too. About a 6-foot-8, 260 pound kid who went from high school to the NBA, and did things no one had ever done before on a basketball court.
And 12 years into his career, he’s still doing things no one has ever seen. LeBron James is not simply the best player in the world; he has become, in my mind and many other sportswriters I’ve read the last few weeks, equal to Michael Jordan.
Yes, I said it. LeBron is as good as MJ ever was. And there is no way in Hades Jordan gets to the NBA Finals this year with the cast LeBron is playing with.
With his two all-star teammates sidelined, and forced to play with the hoops equivalent of four guys he found hanging out at the YMCA, LeBron willed his team to the NBA Finals, and kept them in a series they had no business being in after Kyrie Irving went down. Golden State was the far superior team, and are a worthy NBA champion, and I’m happy for Steph Curry and his whole squad, and for Warriors fans, who are awesome.
But even after a season-ending loss, I’m thinking about LeBron.
The last two weeks, he has put on one of the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen in sports. One man against five, basically, and the one kept his team in every single game. Jump shots, drives, 3-pointers, assists,
His NBA Finals averages of 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 are extraordinary; words can’t describe how dominant he’s been. He’s played 228 of a possible 250 minutes. And in those 22 minutes he hasn’t been on the floor, Cleveland has been outscored by 22 points — one point per minute.
I could go on and on. But suffice to say, we’re watching a one-of-a-kind athlete in his prime, and, notwithstanding a few months of raging ego when he first went to play for Miami in 2011, a really good guy on and off the court, one who’s easy to root for.
I know Cleveland came up short, and LeBron James couldn’t do it all himself.
But these last two weeks have been an absolute joy to watch. It never gets boring watching pure excellence.
**Next up today, we New Yorkers are pretty immune to surprises on the street. I mean, the wide as the Grand Canyon spectrum of human behavior on display every day right in front of us has kinda innoculated us from truly being shocked, I think.
But this JetBlue experiment sure seemed to shake up people, in a pretty funny way. The airline decided to put a hologram-looking talking computer up in a glass window on 6th Avenue recently, and it asked pedestrians pretty simple questions about their flying preferences.
Then the machine started talking back. And making fun of their wardrobe. Turns out it was a real person inside the whole time…
**Finally today, this is one of the strangest stories you’ll see. A high school track athlete from Buffalo named Sam Peterman literally collapses after every race she competes in.
Peterman, who’s 15, suffers from something called neurocardiogenic syncope, or NCS, a condition that causes her to faint nearly every time she finishes a race. Her father, Dale Peterman has almost always been there to catch her.
“It’s the hardest thing,” he said of waiting for Sam at the finish line. “Because you never know.”
Despite Peterman’s condition, she’s been cleared to run by doctors. But can you imagine what that’s like, knowing you’re going to pass out after every race, but loving to run anyway? That takes dedication and a love of a sport I’m not sure many people would have.
Fascinating story by Rob Harms in the New York Times.