By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Kevin Durant is not only the greatest scorer in the National Basketball Association for the second, consecutive year running he's also the next greatest player in the league. His team-the Oklahoma City Thunder-are the West favorites to take home the trophy this year and start a new dynasty for the ages. An age, Durant look set to dominate. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
LeBron James is not only the league MVP he's the man that took the East from 'least' to 'beast' when he took his talents to South Beach to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami. Now the Heat look to cool down all the opposition and scorch their way to not only the top of the standings but the superteam status ranks too. When he came to Cleveland straight out of high school, with a Cavalier pressed number 'Bron was the second coming of '23'. One 'decision' later he then changed sports and marketing history a little like the man that put the 'air' back into Nike. James will just do it and go down as one of the best ever. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
Kobe Bryant is the closest thing we've ever had in this basketball universe to the best. The Jesus to our God from the worshiping to the prophecies. From the 'fro to the face-mask and the Shaq feuds to the 'Coach Kobe' sidelines the Black Mamba has been through it all and played through it all. Acting like nothing fazes him as he hits 81 and new career highs one of the greatest scorers, clutch hitters and all-round players looks to the best. He wants to be the greatest and his will and killer-instinct drive to do just that. Number 24 may be a jersey number above number 23 but he's one ring behind him too and there can only be one. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
Magic Johnson really was 'Magic'. Earvin saw and ran the floor like no other. He made it possible to dominate the offensive ground without even taking a single-shot. He could score too. From taking the reigns from the captain's seat to the baby-hooks that made grown Celtics cry Magic was clutch and a big time player. Still he was the first superstar to be truly unselfish and that's what cemented his legendary legacy. The only thing bigger than his star shining smile was his history and he helped re-write it. With that being said however even Magic had to pass the torch. He had to pass the NBA baton to the best and when it came to the best; "boy did he take it". Magic was the man. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
Larry Bird along with his Magic friend redefined the league and basketball so much he made it a big hit on any stage. So much now his and Earvin's story is being played out over playbills and taking Broadway by storm. Larry epitomized hustle and hard-work and shattered stereotypes tired notions. One of the greatest clutch and three point players of all time Larry's legend also sees him as the greatest Boston Celtic of all time. The most storied basketball franchise the NBA has ever seen. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game. 100?! These days some whole teams don't even reach. Shaq may have been the biggest star ever and Bill Russell may be the lord of the rings but Wilt Chamberlain is the most dominant big man of all time. After George Mikan and before Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Wilt set the tone. He put up the biggest numbers on those stilts. He made career-sky high stats in points and rebounds a nightly affair. Some kid ran off with the ball he scored 100 points with but in every other game Chamberlain owned the game ball. It was like no one else could touch it. Wilt truly wad the greatest dominating player. Still he's not better than the greatest; Michael Jordan.
Who's the greatest man to ever take President? Lincoln? Clinton? JFK? Obama? In music people debate over the greatest artist Elvis, Dylan, Lennon, Marvin, Sinatra or Springsteen. In art Picasso, Monet, Dali. In movies we could argue over Cary Grant, Clint, or De Niro as being the best ever. Still when it comes to basketball there is just one...'23'. Michael Jordan...the greatest of all time. Like Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods or Ali. The best no Wade or West. No Russell or Carmelo. Derrick Rose is great but not THIS great. It's more. It's more than the 6 titles, 5 MVP's and 14 all-star appearances. The 32,292 points, the 6,672 rebounds and 5,633 assists. More than the shots over Craig Ehlo or Byron Russell. More than Air Jordan or the rest of the endorsements. More than the flu or the shrug. That lay-up or those dunks. More than Sam Bowie or Kobe. The Wizards or the Bobcats. From Scoop Jackson to the rest of the media. Space Jam or the other M.J. Michael Jackson. From North Carolina to Chicago. From the bases to the '45'. The legend to the legacy. More than this his airness Michael Jeffrey Jordan is the greatest player to ever touch a basketball.