Miami Heat: It’s alright to appreciate both Michael Jordan & LeBron James

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat hugs Michael Jordan after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat hugs Michael Jordan after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat Godfather says one is arguably the greatest & has the other’s 23 retired in AAA. If both are good enough for Riles, both should be ok for us.

The Miami Heat are an organization that takes pride in everything it is that they do. If the floors are being swept, they want to be the best, hardest working, and quickest bunch of floor sweepers there is.

If they are taking out the garbage. They want to take it out as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Everything about this Miami Heat organization, from the way that they are built to the way they go about managing their players, it screams excellence.

That is also the case when thinking about things such as the moves made by Miami Heat team president and chief player personnel decision-maker, Pat Riley. That had to be the case when Riles decided that no Heat player after the time in which he decided to do it would ever wear the number 23 again.

A salute and tribute to His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, Riles got to see his magic first hand. This probably has a ton to do with the fact that his jersey is now retired by the Miami Heat. Riley never hesitates to show respect for the greats of the game.

With that in mind, Pat Riley also never fails to show the massive respect and reverence for his former swingman with the Miami Heat, LeBron James. It is by no mistake or misfortune that he oftentimes refers to him as “maybe the greatest player of all time“.

It is the total comprehension of these thoughts that lead us to another question though. Why must we always try to compare the two or place them against each other?

What’s wrong with appreciating them both? If they are both good enough for one of the greatest minds, if not the single greatest that the NBA has ever seen, then how are they both not worthy enough to be praised for their accomplishments without being plotted against one another?

That is something that we as fans are responsible for. Kobe Bryant said it best in this quote from ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary.

"“I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one. You heard fans saying, ‘Hey Kobe, you’d beat Michael one-on-one’ and I feel like, yo, what you get from me is from him. I don’t get five championships here without him. ‘Cause he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”"

At its core, they all learned, grew, and became who they were through each other. If Kobe didn’t have MJ, then he may not be the guy who he is today. If LeBron didn’t have Kobe, then the same could potentially be said for him.

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We don’t always have to choose. There is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating, accepting, and celebrating both Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the two best players to ever pat the rock in the NBA.

You know why? Because it’s just the truth.