Tracy McGrady: LeBron James Plays Against Boys, Michael Jordan Played vs. Men

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

MIAMI - OCTOBER 05:  Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat takes on guard Tracy McGrady #1 of  the Detroit Pistons on October 5, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The hits just keep on coming for LeBron James.

Dennis Rodman recently said The Chosen One would be an average player in another era, something the San Antonio Spurs' Tracy McGrady disagreed with.

“That’s definitely overboard because he’s probably one of the most gifted athletes that we’ve ever seen in our game, any era," McGrady told Harvey Araton of the New York Times.

James shouldn't be blushing just yet, because T-Mac wasn't done.

After discrediting Rodman's outrageous allegation, McGrady then went on to defend his era, at the expense of James.

“When I first came in, I mean, you still had M. J. and them guys in the game,” he said. "“You had men. You played with men. Now it’s a bunch of boys.”

For real right now?

We get it, McGrady was 18 when he entered the league. And yes, he had to play against Michael Jordan, James never did. That shouldn't matter.

James is the greatest player in the NBA and no amount of criticism is going to change that. Being a man among teenagers in 2003 is impressive, whether His Airness was still in the league or not. Succeeding like he has after making the jump from prep-to-pros is difficult, no matter which era you're talking about. 

Holding the timing behind his NBA debut against James isn't fair. He cannot change when he was born, and he would be one of the first to admit he would have loved to have played against Jordan. That test is something he would have relished in.

He was still 18 when he made his debut, preordained a star in ways McGrady never was. Not to mention he wasn't afforded a safety net upon joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. James was on his own.

When McGrady entered the league he played next to Chauncey Billups (for a short time) and Marcus Camby with the Toronto Raptors. Soon after, Vince Carter joined the party. McGrady never had to carry the burdens James did, a man's albatross. He never single-handedly carried a team of "Who the hell are theys?" to a championship in 2007.

“He has a great I.Q. for the game and a great eye for picking apart defenses, attacking at the right moments," McGrady said. That’s pretty much what LeBron does and what I was accustomed to doing.”

James has always done it better and is worthy of the comparisons he draws to the league's greatest legends, Jordan included. Nothing McGrady or anyone else says will ever change that.