We’ve seen this before, sort of.
In an article previewing the Miami Heat’s 2012-13 NBA season, ESPN profiled LeBron James as revolutionizing the “Point Forward” position. In a way, he is. But it’s not the first time we’ve seen it (see: Scottie Pippen, Grant Hill, and contrary to popular belief, Magic Johnson). While all of them were excellent playmakers, none of them were equipped with the athleticism of LeBron.
As we enter a new season, there are still a few people who look to compare LeBron to Michael Jordan, which is becoming more wrong by the day. There are a lot of people who are beginning to see more of Magic in LeBron’s game, which is becoming more apparent by the day. The most correct opinion would be somewhere in the middle, leaning more toward Magic.
If you think about it a little longer, the comparison to Magic can become a little eerie. A man possessing forward size, with guard like skills whose best natural ability on the basketball court is finding the open man with exceptional court vision. Then, there is the way they revitalized another superstar’s career. Much like the way LeBron came along and helped Dwyane Wade to get out of the first round again to attain another title, Magic did the same for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Like Wade, Abdul-Jabbar won his title early on, but had a tough time winning the next one until Magic broke onto the scene as a rookie in 1980. That was the moment the Lakers became Magic’s team. They were able to run off 4 more rings in that decade. Granted, Abdul-Jabbar was a 7-2 center, and we know you can’t coach size. But in terms of talent with Wade (so long as he stays healthy), that is more than possible for the Heat. We know he shares some skills with Magic, but can he develop Magic’s leadership? THAT remains to be seen.
How many other players in the history of the game can boast a 27 point per game average, and scoring NOT be his best skill?