The longstanding debate amongst what separates the great from the average athlete across the spectrum will always involve their decision to rest or play when their health is on the line – whether sickness or injury. Dennis Rodman stepped into CBS Sports’ “Reiter Than You” with Bill Reiter this past Monday (Apr. 4), to discuss this epidemic, using two of the critically-acclaimed “greatest” of their time, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as examples.
Rodman got straight to the point, stating, “LeBron’s doing one thing that I always said that Michael Jordan never did. He never rested. He played every game. LeBron has the position to do this now, because they need him. The league needs him, and that’s why he’s doing all this crazy s*** now, like b******* and complaining…”
Respective to MJ’s impact on the league, now and during his prime, the Cav’s #23 is arguably the face of the National Basketball Association for the current era of basketball – or at least one of the faces. In this sense, former number 91 is correct.
Athletes are often idolized by overcoming physical limitations and the style and competency at which they do so. Jordan is undoubtedly known for pushing through physical ailments. Take the Bulls’ victory over the Utah Jazz in the ‘97 Finals game as proof. It has been donned a memorable moment in NBA history and engrained in Jordan’s legacy as the “Flu Game.” He played through a weakening sickness for nearly the entire playoff victory, fighting through 44 of the game’s 48 minutes. According to ESPN, the notorious “jumpman” also played a full season (82 games) without rest nine times throughout his career — something James has yet to accomplish.
Wow time sure does fly! 15 years ago to this date I was Chosen to be on the cover on SI. To me I just thought it was cool and all cause the magazine was always something my boys and I would look at and read in the library every time another issue dropped but I have no idea the magnitude of being on the cover as a high school kid would bring!! I guess that’s why nothing ever fazed me cause I was so unaware of it all. Just wanted to play ball, go to school(so I could see my brothers, learn something, see some girls) and spend time with moms. Anyways I can say that I’ve done something right with my opportunity and life giving! #StriveForGreatness🚀 #TheKidFromAkron👑
Of recent, James amongst a host of other players have been ostracized for sitting out regular season games and gypping their fans of a once-in-a-lifetime live viewing of some of the league’s greatest. The Cavalier’s forward responded by attesting that a coach’s job is to “compete for a championship, not compete for a game.”
“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it. At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest. And it’s a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You’re going to have back-to-backs. You’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game.” – LeBron James
Steve Kerr commented on Rodman’s criticism saying, “Dennis was suspended for 15 games a year anyway.” The Golden State Warriors’ head coach continues, “he got plenty of rest… He just took a night off whenever he wanted, so he can’t complain.”
A notable difference between the two NBA legends is the fact that James has never found himself estranged from the league. Jordan retired from the league in October 1993 to find himself in the minor leagues, playing for the Birmingham Barons in 1994 as an outfielder. James has remained true to the league thus far.
Both franchise players have carved their own respective spots in NBA history, which James continues to hammer away at. What do you think of Rodman’s accusations?