Randy Smith: Who's Better?

Monday, June 11, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

I have nothing personal against Lebron James. I think he is a great player, easily one of the best to ever play the game of basketball. But I cannot say that I believe he is the best of all time. I have seen in person players like Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Michael Jordan and many more who can be considered as the best ever. I have seen on television others like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I have also stated many times that it's really impossible to compare players from different eras. That's true for any sport whether it's basketball, football, baseball or horseshoes. It's all subjective, and it's all based on opinion. 

When I was a kid everyone debated who was better, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays? My personal choice back then was Mantle, but looking back, it was probably Mays. You can more easily compare players from the same era than you can from twenty-thirty years apart. So, if I'm comparing players from the current era in the NBA I just might choose Kevin Durant over Lebron James. James is a great player, but with Steph Curry and Durant, the Golden State Warriors have won two NBA titles in a row over Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers and this year, it was a 4-0 sweep. Durant has won back to back NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards even though that award could very easily have gone to Curry both years.  

I'm not declaring Durant to be the best ever, but he has as much in his favor as James. Lebron has more career points and assists but Durant has as many titles. I've said all of that to say this; my personal choice for the best basketball player I ever saw was Pete Maravich. Notice I didn't say the best NBA player ever, but the best basketball player I ever saw. He had more pure skill than anyone else. He could shoot the ball from any place on the court and it would have a great chance to go in the basket. He was an amazing passer and ball handler and had he not had so many personal problems when he became a pro, he would have been even better as an NBA player. 

It's easy to see that Steph Curry is the best shooter in NBA history, that's hardly even debatable. Curry was a great shooter in college but not nearly as dominant as he has been in pro basketball. As far as Michael Jordan is concerned, he was a great player in college but an even greater player in the NBA. It's hard to knock his six NBA Championships and when his Chicago Bulls needed a basket, MJ delivered. No one could guard Michael Jordan. Some player may have been able to stop him every now and then but nobody could do it consistently. Plus, MJ was never as moody as Lebron can be and he was never a big "crybaby" like Lebron is from time to time.  

Looking further back, players like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor also must be considered when you talk about the greatest players ever. More recently, you can add the names of Tim Duncan  and Shaquille O'Neal to the conversation, and maybe even Charles Barkley. It might be more accurate to determine the best player from each decade. So, from the 1960's I choose Wilt Chamberlain. In the 1970's I pick Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson tie for the best from the 1980s, and Michael Jordan gets the nod from the 1990s. In the 2000s, my choice is Kobe Bryant, and for the current decade, I choose Lebron James. That would make a nearly unbeatable all star team.  

Not everyone will agree with my picks, but I don'r expect that at all. Again, it's all subjective. Remember, opinions are like noses. Everybody has one.  

-----

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


PREP SCHEDULES

Chattanooga State Volleyball Rolls Over Crown College, 3-0

Tennessee, Arkansas Dominate In USTA Southern Mixed Sectionals


FOOTBALL FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 Baylor at MBA CAK at Boyd-Buchanan Maryville at Bradley McMinn Central at Brainerd Tyner at Central Chattanooga Christian at Grace Christian ... (click for more)

Behind the outstanding play of Sidney Killingsworth, Chattanooga State’s volleyball team rolled in a sweep of Crown College Monday evening. Killingsworth accounted for 10 kills, 10 aces and four ... (click for more)

Tennessee and Arkansas rose to the top of the 2018 USTA Southern Mixed Doubles Sectional Championships, played Oct. 12-14, in metro Little Rock, Ar. Tennessee was well represented with four ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 Baylor at MBA CAK at Boyd-Buchanan Maryville at Bradley McMinn Central at Brainerd Tyner at Central Chattanooga Christian at Grace Christian McMinn Co. at Cleveland Cloudland at Copper Basin Howard at East Hamilton Hixson at East Ridge Middle Tennessee Christian at Grace South Pittsburg at Lookout Valley Marion ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Volleyball Rolls Over Crown College, 3-0

Behind the outstanding play of Sidney Killingsworth, Chattanooga State’s volleyball team rolled in a sweep of Crown College Monday evening. Killingsworth accounted for 10 kills, 10 aces and four blocks to lead the Lady Tigers to a 3-0 win. Set scores were 25-11, 25-10, 25-17. According to head coach Janet Tate “(We had) A really good team effort tonight! We played well and ... (click for more)

Breaking News

WWTA Releases Timetable That Would Have Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant In Operation By 2025; Public Meetings Set At Central High

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has released a timetable that would have a new sewage treatment plant in Ooltewah in operation by 2025. A request for a site at Mahan Gap Road goes before the Planning Commission at Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. It goes to the County Commission Zoning Committee on Dec. 12 and the full commission on Dec. 19. The WWTA also ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)

Opinion

Too Many Questions

First it was about 2,000, then we were told it’s up to 4,000. We have no way of knowing who’s coming or what their purpose is. NBC and CNN assure us they are seeking sanctuary but how can we know? Neither Honduras or our subjective media in America have been honest with us in the past. So, how do we know why that many people are marching across Central America? Then this morning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Answer For Amy

Amy Schumer, whose cousin is Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, is said to be a very successful comedian and an activist of note. You may remember her most recent appearance was when she was arrested at the U.S. Capitol three weeks ago. She was part of a disgraceful mob who unlawfully protested the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the hunch is Amy wanted to get arrested so she ... (click for more)