Is Charles Barkley Right on LeBron James as a 'Bigger, Stronger Michael Jordan'?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 15, 2013

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 08:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at American Airlines Arena on February 8, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA community has an obsession with comparisons.

There's always the "next coming" of former stars without any acceptance of individual originality.

However there is one place that most dare not go:

Comparing anyone to Michael Jordan.

Few have the courage to act on that forbidden thought, but it creeps into everyone's mind when as they watch basketball brilliance, when they watch LeBron.

I don't think we have to question Charles Barkley's courage.

Comparing players, regardless of stature, to Michael Jordan is going to generate attention.

When you hear it, it's like nails scratching a chalkboard.

The music stops.

Everyone turns around.

When you compare someone to Michael Jordan, you're not just comparing him to a player, but to a track record, the track record.

But for argument's sake, let's forget the resume and focus on pure player comparison.

If you shaved three-inches and 30 pounds off LeBron's frame, would his game resemble Jordan's?

How about vice versa?

If you added three-inches and 30 pounds to Michael Jordan's frame, would have been similar to LeBron James?

It's a hypothetical question of course, but I just don't see it.

One of the reasons LeBron is so dominant is because of his physical tools. He's got the speed of a guard, the size of a power forward and the strength of a body builder.

If you take that away, then he's a completely different player, just like if you cut the bottom-third off your jeans, then you'd have a completely different look.

One of the reasons Michael Jordan was so successful was because he had veins filled with ice water and a natural killer instinct.

As talented as LeBron is, closing games isn't his forte, and it's not necessarily something that can be taught.

Personally, I think if we're going to allow Michael Jordan to take part in a comparison, the only guy who makes sense is Kobe Bryant.

Kobe plays a similar game as Mike, mid-range assassins and stone-cold buzzer beaters, two shooting guards who can and could attack the rim or post and toast.

At the end of the day, the comparisons to Michael Jordan are silly.

We try harder to find the next Michael Jordan than we do to accept there could be a different one.

LeBron still has a chance at being Michael Jordan in terms of impact.

If James could wins five more rings (he's only 28 years old) dominating the way he is, I'd have no problem putting him in the same class.

But the same class doesn't mean the same body.

These are two completely different dudes, and that's always how it's going to be.

There won't be another Michael Jordan, just like there won't be another LeBron.

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