See, the reason that Lebron James will never be in Michael Jordan's class is because of the lack of respect James has for his fellow players. Thats very nice to teach the young basketball players, I don't think so. From what I've read, LeBron James has developed a reputation of always respecting his teammates and his opponents. He has, to my knowledge, never been known to publicly berate his coaches or the play of his teammates, nor has he ever been heard complaining about his place in the Cavaliers franchise. In short, LeBron has been nothing but a class act. Yes, he stormed off the court after losing Game 6 without shaking his opponents' hands or talking to the media, which should be seen as poor sportsmanship, but that event was so truly exceptional for LeBron that the NBA chose to not even penalize him for it.
If you don't win, just walk away, you're a competitor, theres no reason to congratulate the other team. They just beat you, they don't need congratulating...... Come on, seriously, is that what we're supposed to be teaching our kids about sports?
What happened to try your best, do what you can and in the end, the best team will win? But the most important thing is that everyone has fun and a good time. When did we get away from that? I think King James needs to get put in his place for that one.
Now, for your praise of Michael Jordan, I wonder if this might not be tinged with a bit of nostalgic historic revisionism. I've read it said that, early in his career, Jordan cared little for anything else but his own scoring totals, and that it took a bit of Phil Jackson's mastery of psychology to get MJ on the same page with Scottie Pippen and the rest of the Bulls team. Can you refute this? If not, then I'd say that LeBron is actually years ahead of where Jordan was in his development as a team player after the same number of years in the league.
While I personally can't refute that one, I am by no means a scholar of the Bulls. It certainly does sound like Jordan early in his career, but consider not so much that he walked off the court (Detroit did that to the Bulls more than once, even Scottie Pippen did that) but its what he said after the game that struck a cord with me:
" "It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them," he said. "I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand." " http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4222452
It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand? I'm a winner, I'm a competitor, that's what I do? Since when is this the teamwork motto? Mr. Jordan never once said anything of this sort. Further, the fine wasn't going to come from his diatribe above, but rather from refusing to talk to the media. The fine had nothing to do with LeBron not shaking hands.
In all respects though, Lebron really does need to learn to be a good sport and congratulate a winner, especially on national TV. Unless of course we are trying to teach everyone that winning is the only thing that counts.... And if that's the case, I'm glad I've gotten past that phase.