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MJ vs LBJ: Whose Road was Tougher?

Cleveland Cavalier Girls

The comparison between Michael Jordan and LeBron James is and always will be an dynamic one. Who will go down as the greatest player of all time? Many say that Michael Jordan should go down as the greatest, he won title after title, three-peat after three-peat, accumulating accolades few can compare to during the NBA’s most competitive years. LeBron is just thirty years young, and has plenty of high quality basketball left in him. If he plays all the way through till he’s forty years old like MJ did, who knows what kind of legacy he could leave.

Michael Jordan definitely faced an incredibly tough path to greatness, there is no doubting that. MJ faced an unbelievable amount of what would turn out to be all time greats. Hell, MJ’s rookie playoff matchup was Sidney Moncrief, who now has his #4 jersey hanging from the rafters in the BMO Harris Bradley Centre, in Milwaukee.

{adinserter 2}From there he faced the Bird, McHale and Parish Celtics. He’d go on to face the Detroit ‘Bad Boys’ for the next four years. Then go on to beat Magic Johnson’s Lakers, Clyde Drexler’s Blazers, Charles Barkley’s Suns, Gary Payton’s Sonics, then Stockton and Malone’s Jazz twice, in each of those respective years NBA Finals. So there is no way to sugar coat it, Michael Jordan faced an incredibly tough path to win his NBA titles, and managed to go 6-0 in Finals appearances.

People seem to think that LeBron James has had a cakewalk in his illustrious career, which couldn’t be farther from true. First off, MJ didn’t go first overall in his 1984 NBA Draft, he went third behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. With Bowie quite possibly being the biggest mistake in any professional sports draft. So not only did Jordan escape the pressure thats placed on a number one draft pick, but there was also a huge expectation and spotlight on Bowie, who never lived up to the hype. There was more of a relief and happiness from the Bulls faithful to see the kid drafted third overall skyrocket into becoming a superstar in a matter of months.

LeBron James on the other hand was drafted first overall, and to his native state. There were huge expectations on LeBron from the day he was drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He not only had the pressure of being the first overall pick, but had the pressure of playing for his home states team, a team which had struggled for years and never seen the or felt the pleasure of an NBA Championship. With James drafted to Clevelands beloved Cavs, there was hope for the city, hope for the franchize. The days of 19 win seasons were over.

It did take James longer to reach the postseason, making his first playoffs appearance in his third season in the league. When he did make the playoffs, he made sure the world knew though averaging an incredible 35.6 ppg in his debut playoff series. He’d face and beat Gilbert Arenas’ Wizards three years in a row, lose to Tim Duncan’s Spurs in the Finals, lose the conference final to Dwight Howards Magic and bow out to Boston’s ‘Big 3’ before exiting Cleveland.

(Continue with Part II of the article on the next page!)

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