Greatness and the best. While it may seem like two similar words in a basketball context, it has actually become the opposite as more players cement their legacy in the NBA.
Greatness has always been the subject of debate when it comes to NBA basketball. It has always been, “Who is the GOAT?” instead of, “Who is the best?” In hindsight, those two may seem similar. However, the likes of Kobe, LeBron, Magic, and Larry have differentiated those two words.
What is the definition of the NBA greatness? Is it really the same as being the best?
To put it in the simplest answer: no.
Why is Michael Jordan the consensus GOAT of the NBA and basketball in general? Is it because of his skill alone? The fact that he was an all-around player on the court? Yes, but not the sole reason. He changed the way the game was played. MJ paved the way for many other players. He helped open up the NBA internationally. He’s the muse of many other greats following his footsteps. That’s why he’s GREAT.
Now let’s quickly compare Kobe and LeBron to Michael Jordan.
Are LeBron and Kobe great in their own right? Of course. That’s why they’re 2 of the 10 greatest players to touch a basketball. As great as Jordan though? Consensus answer would be no.
This is where it gets interesting.
It’s established that LeBron and Kobe may not be as great Michael, but being better is another argument.
Can you make an argument that Kobe and LeBron are better players than MJ? Yes.
While most of you are probably already upset, hear this out.
It is possible that Kobe and LeBron could be better basketball players than MJ. In hindsight, Kobe was the better shooter than MJ and a better ball handler. LeBron is arguably better at being all-around. However, the smart choice, of course, is not putting any of them above Jordan in any argument.
That’s where the greatness factor argument comes in. Do Kobe and LeBron have the same impact as Michael Jordan? Probably not. That’s why it is nearly impossible to put either of them above Jordan.
If you need further proof that greatness and best are not the same, let’s look at the two of the most popular players of all time. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
There’s no denying that both are great, but factoring just pure greatness, Magic is greater than Larry with the fact that Magic revolutionized the game like no other.
The argument can also be made that Larry Bird was the better player due to his shooting and overall skill on the floor.
Being the greatest and being the best have big differences. The list of players easily changes with the each criterion. So keep in mind that being better doesn’t necessarily mean greater.
*Featured Image Credits Go To Getty Images*