Realistically, LeBron James should just back away from these conversations. He’s not going to win them, except in the eyes of his most-passionate defenders. He has a card he can play that will win every time, but he hasn’t used it yet:
“My career is far from over. When I’m done, then let’s compare jewelry. Yours, Michael, and yours, Kobe. Until then, you go wrestle with your mid-life crisis, and you go back to trying to make your teammate cry."
But LeBron won’t do that. So he gets drawn into the who’s-better argument. This time, he was drawn in both by Michael Jordan and by a harmonic convergence of All-Star Weekend, Jordan’s approaching 50th birthday and his own unprecedented last two weeks of play.
The bait Jordan dangled was too tantalizing for LeBron to pass up: he told NBA-TV that he’d take Kobe Bryant over LeBron right now, because "five beats one every time I look at it."
That’s a good reminder that LeBron didn’t start this, but that he does have to finish it. So Friday, he responded with this: look at it another way, MJ.
“At the end of the day, rings don't always define someone's career," he told reporters in Houston. "If that’s the case, then I'd sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn't. I wouldn't take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six."