Joe Santoro: LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate is boring | NevadaAppeal.com
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Joe Santoro: LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate is boring

By Joe Santoro For the Nevada Appeal
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Another NBA Finals involving LeBron James. Another Michael Jordan-LeBron James discussion. Stop it. Stop asking a question that has no real answer. The debate about which player is the best in NBA history is tired, boring and silly. Jordan and James are different types of players in vastly different NBA eras. They are both great in their own way. It’s just a matter of preference. But just ask yourself one question. Game tied. 10 seconds left. NBA Finals Game 7. Who do you want taking that last shot? Jordan or James? Even James would want Jordan to take that last shot and would pass him the ball.

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James will likely end up with all of the NBA career records. The guy, after all, started in the league when he was 19 years old and could end up playing 25 years. He has already played nearly 200 more regular season games than Jordan and 81 more playoff games. James, though, has only led the league in scoring once and in assists once. Jordan led in scoring 10 times and in steals three times. Jordan also gave up nearly three full seasons in his prime because of an injury and his decision to go play minor league baseball. Give Jordan those three seasons and he’d likely have three more scoring titles and two more NBA championships. Jordan was dynamic, a comet streaking through the sky. He left everyone amazed He changed the sport. James is a freight train. He might be the most boring superstar the sport has ever seen. But he also might be the smartest, most unselfish superstar we’ve ever seen. Two different players in two different eras. Both great.

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Is JaVale McGee the greatest professional champion the Nevada Wolf Pack has ever produced? McGee, who played for the Pack in 2006-07 and 2007-08, has now won three NBA titles in the last four years, two with the Golden State Warriors (2017, 2018) and one with LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers (2020). Yes, those teams could have won those titles without him (he didn’t even play in this year’s Finals) but there is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.

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McGee is the only Pack player to win a NBA title. But he’s not the only Pack player to win a pro title. The greatest Pack pro champion, of course, is Marion Motley who won five football titles with the Cleveland Browns. Brock Marion won three super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. Charles Mann won three with Washington (two) and the San Francisco 49ers and Horace Gillom won two with the Browns. Other Pack football players to win a NFL title were Tommy Kalmanir (Los Angeles Rams), Virgil Green and Brandon Marshall (both with Denver) and Frank Hawkins (Los Angeles Raiders).

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The Wolf Pack football team will play a depleted Wyoming Cowboys defensive line in its season opener at Mackay Stadium Oct. 24. Three potential Cowboys starters (Solomon Byrd, Rome Weber and Mario Mora) opted out of the COVID-19 season as did two backups (Claude Cole, Davon Wells-Ross). The Cowboys’ program is based on physicality and toughness and five of those players will be home staying safe next weekend.

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The Wolf Pack has announced that no fans will be allowed at Mackay for the Wyoming game. The Wolf Pack doesn’t need you, Northern Nevada. Yes, sure, they want you. They definitely want your money and want you to tell them how much you love them. Money and adulation are what makes the world of sports go round. But they don’t need you to actually stage games. That’s what television contracts are for. That cold, hard fact, above all else, is what you should learn from this goofy college football season. We never thought they would be so obvious about it but, well, these are desperate times. Our colleges and universities are playing games in the middle of a pandemic and deliberately risking the health of their student athletes and you can’t watch in person. Then again, why would you want to watch that anyway?

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Will anyone watch a Tampa Bay Rays-Atlanta Braves World Series? The Rays have no fans, no offense and no star players. The state of Georgia is enamored with football right now. The World Series could be two teams from the south (Florida, Georgia) playing in Texas, involving three states that still think COVID-19 is a liberal media hoax. That, somehow, is fitting during this national nightmare that never seems to end.