Will The King end his reign as the games GOAT...
Will The King end his reign as the games GOAT...

One move to make Michael Jordan nervous

THE DEBATE surrounding the topic of who is the greatest basketball player of all time never goes away.

People have their own views on just who deserves the mantle as the GOAT of the NBA, but one name that is constantly involved in the conversation is Michael Jordan.

Jordan's reign over the league throughout his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls was extraordinary.

He led the Bulls to the NBA Finals on six occasions and won it all every time he made it to the big dance.

His resume is as expansive as his offensive repertoire and the list of accolades are a new story on their own.

But while his reign atop the NBA standings since the time he stepped foot on the hardwood has never really been challenged, his mantle as the GOAT is starting to slip away.

LeBron James was touted as the heir to the throne of Air Jordan back when he was running around with St. Vincent - St. Mary high school.

As a teenager James was doing things on a basketball the majority of us could only ever accomplish in our dreams or in a video game.

Fast forward to 2018 and James is in his fifteenth season in the NBA and somehow he's not only not slowing down, he seems to be getting better.

Maybe an arm wrestle is the best way to decide this.
Maybe an arm wrestle is the best way to decide this.

Many will argue that Jordan's success rate of 100 per cent in the Finals compared to James' 37.5 per cent and six rings to three is enough to swing the debate.

But James' seven straight trips to the Finals, a feat Jordan never achieved, is just as good a counter argument.

While the debate over just who deserves the number one spot could, and most likely will, go on and on James could pull off one move to make Jordan even more nervous.

NBA expert Bill Simmons has seen the destructive power of James first hand throughout his career and believes he may surpass Jordan with a big switch this off-season.

"If LeBron wants to grab the GOAT horns, he needs to keep piling up Finals trips and maybe even one or two more rings," Simmons wrote on The Ringer.

"He needs to get lucky and have a 7-foot-2 superfreak unicorn defy the odds and stay healthy.

"He needs to buddy up with his favourite Klutch client, a mirror image of himself physically, and play the "I'm gonna teach Ben (Simmons) everything I know" card.

"He needs to move his business to Manhattan. He needs to recruit the hell out of another A-lister like Paul George. He needs to roll the dice with Philadelphia.

"It's the second-best narrative with the absolute highest ceiling. And you know what else?

"Don't laugh … but it's the one move that might make Michael Jordan nervous. To be continued."

Will LeBron join Simmons in the city of brotherly love...
Will LeBron join Simmons in the city of brotherly love...

James has a player option for next season on his current contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, meaning he can opt back in or choose to again take his talents elsewhere.

After the Cavaliers made a resounding six moves at the trade deadline, many believe James will ultimately decide to stick around.

But as Bill Simmons explains "there's been some growing "LeBron to Philly" buzz for four reasons," Simmons wrote.

"The Sixers have enough cap space and trade assets to accommodate LeBron and the likes of, say, George.

"Simmons and Joel Embiid are two of the league's best under-25 blue-chippers.

"Klutch represents LeBron and Simmons and NBA insiders have been gossiping about an increasingly cozy Philly-LeBron's circle connection since November.

"You want a quality narrative? What about this one:

"In 2018, LeBron James signed with Philadelphia to build one last mini-dynasty with Embiid and Simmons. He vowed to play seven more years, until he turned 40, and vowed to make it his last stop.

"Just as important, he wanted to be closer to New York City and to his goal of becoming the first active billionaire athlete, with an eye on building his business empire and eventually owning an NBA franchise."

 

If you watched the above video, your ears didn't deceive you. James mentioned the eighth seeded Philadelphia 76ers as a team the Cavaliers need to catch up to.

The mutual respect between James and Simmons isn't something they keep hidden and the Australian has mentioned wanting to play alongside The King.

"I'd love to play with him," Simmons told foxsports.com.au's Olgun Uluc.

"I think that'd be a lot of fun, just because we both have different games, and unique games."

And then there was this seemingly innocuous post to his Instagram page that led many to believe his pursuit of James has continued.

 

The two have also spent a lot of time together in the gym and James' guidance has helped Simmons' game grow.

"Just being around him and learning from his habits and what he does has just helped me overall," Simmons told reporters.

"He'll be one of the first guys in the gym everyday, doesn't matter what day it is, he's one of those guys that gets the work in.

"I think I can take a lot from what he's done, from the way he's done things. He's done a lot for me, just helping me with a lot of experiences and things I need to learn from."

So the duo have clearly entertained the thought of combining their other worldly talents and joining forces to wreak havoc over the Eastern Conference.

James even took it a step further when he posted an image of himself playing NBA 2K with the Sixers and dominating with Simmons.

 

A shift to the Philadelphia 76ers would certainly be a stunning move, and if he is able to guide the young roster containing Simmons and Embiid to a place in the NBA Finals and capture some hardware, the argument may well and truly be decided.

James' ability to make players around him better, hello Mo Williams, is by far and away his greatest trait and if he can take Simmons and Embiid to the next level, his reign over the NBA could continue into the foreseeable future.

News Corp Australia

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