ESPN recently ranked LeBron James the #1 player in the NBA using a scientific study called “#NBARank.” This study asked 91 “experts” to rate 500 players on a scale of 0-to-10, in terms of “the current quality of each player.” When the numbers were tallied and math was applied, LeBron came out on top. Obviously, some people would find an issue with this since LeBron James is the most controversial public figure since *searches discussion-inciting Rolodex* Roman Polanski. One of those people was FOXSports’ Bill Reiter.
Reiter took the opportunity to take a stand against LeBron as the top player in the NBA. Never mind that ESPN’s #NBARank did actually ask their experts to rank the players. They simply asked them to rate them on a scale of 0-to-10 and LeBron had the highest average. That means that many people could have rated LeBron, Kobe, Dirk, CP3, D-Rose, etc all 10’s.
Before I get into the jackassery – Yes, I’m fully aware that Reiter likely wrote this column in hopes that blogs would tell him what a jackass he was being. Reiter is “trolling hard,” as they say. You can’t simply say that LeBron James is one of the best basketball players alive. You have to take a hard stance one way or the other. He either is or he isn’t. Get on the train or fuck off. Pick a side and watch those page views grow.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the dumber things he wrote.
It’s fair to say Magic and most right-thinking basketball people are on the same page here: There is zero chance — not an iota of a percentage point of possibility — that LeBron James is the No. 1 player in the NBA.
That is completely fair. No chance. None. That’s how we know that Scottie Pippen has brain damage.
I get that ESPN needs to kiss and make up for helping LeBron commit public-relations suicide with The Decision.
I’m sure when they asked their experts to rate each player they made sure to say, “And don’t forget The Decision! We need to thank him for that… or something.”
If only stats mattered, and rising to the moment did not, Joe Montana would not be the greatest quarterback of all time. His winner-take-all intangibles would pale in comparison to someone like Dan Marino.
Ah, yes. Quarterbacks! The most important position in all of sports! Did you know that no team in NFL history has ever won a Super Bowl without a quarterback? That is a true fact. I read it on Pro Football Talk. And that is why Joe Montana rules and Dan Marino can go film another stupid Jim Carrey movie. Did I mention that Tommy Davidson was the best cast member on In Living Color? No right-thinking comedy fan would think otherwise. There is zero percentage of an iota that a sane person could think that. Have you seen Bootycall?
That’s why “Mr. October” means something in baseball.
Boom. Referencing Jeter without saying Jeter? That’s a thousand columnist points.
(Edit: Oops – Reggie, is Mr. October. I knew that. Unfortunately, that’s not worth any points.)
There are a few problems here, starting with: If you use a methodology to rank NBA players, and it comes out that LeBron is No. 1, it turns out your methodology doesn’t work. Period.
“This is my opinion and it is the only sane opinion that exists in the world today. Punctuation mark.”
When you spend a year writing about a guy like LeBron on a website or a Twitter account, or talking with your sports-writing friends about why analytics makes him the greatest in the game, it’s really, really hard to admit you’re wrong.
Even to yourself.
You could say that about any player – Durant, Kobe, Dwight – but we’ll ignore that. Only the people that think LeBron are the best are wrong even though that’s not necessarily what the voters were saying when they rated all the players. Also, stop lying to yourself, dummy.
LeBron’s Finals performance should have shown that Mark Twain was right: There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
That’s another thousand columnist points.
There’s no doubt that pressure matters. LeBron showed us that. He also showed us that being clutch (or not) matters.
Dirk Nowitzki’s place in the game has risen sharply given his sudden ability to exhibit incredible leadership and willpower under pressure.
Ignore the rest of his career.
My top five, off the top of my head, would go like this: Wade, Dirk, Derrick Rose, Kobe/Dwight Howard, and, just after them, LeBron.
Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose! I would say that most right-thinking basketball people are on the same page here: There is zero chance — not an iota of a percentage point of possibility that LeBron James should be ranked the 6th best player in the NBA.
Howard makes the list because, unlike LeBron, he’s yet to demonstrate a supernatural ability to torpedo his team’s ability to be champions.
Infallible logic. Did you know Dwight Howard has lost zero of the NBA Finals he has never played in?
He cannot become strong enough if he doesn’t realize he is weak. He cannot become great in the clutch if he’s convinced himself (with your unerring help) that he’s already there. Dirk went through the darkness of being seen for what he was after 2006, and that is a big part of the reason the 2011 version of himself emerged to take away what LeBron covets most.
We are the wake-up call. The line in the sand. We are the warrior poets that pushed Dirk to his title.
Don’t pretend this doesn’t matter to the players being ranked. When these rankings came out, and Carmelo Anthony was ranked 12th, he tweeted: “I needed some motivation today and i just received it. Thank you @NBAonESPN!!!!!!!!! #NBArank”
So… The fact that LeBron is a 10 is what will keep LeBron from becoming a 10. Why couldn’t these so-called “experts” use some common sense? It’s like they don’t even care if LeBron becomes better than 10.
Because failure is good. Failure is important. Failure molds us into our best — as long as we know, or someone’s there to tell us, why we’ve failed.
Bill Reiter, you have failed.