As the debate continues on about who is truly the best player between Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan, another argument has began about the ‘clutch’ talent of each player as well.
Following James’ buzzer-beater in Game 5 of his first round series, and an outstanding 45-point performance in Game 7 of the same series, many wondered if he is more clutch than his contemporaries.
Kobe and Jordan are known as two of the most clutch players in the history of the game with many having them at the top of the list, but some are wondering if LeBron should be in that category.
One person who isn’t quite ready to put LeBron on that level is former NBA player Stephen Jackson. Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Jackson said that both Kobe and Jordan are more clutch than James:
“Of course. Jordan too. The five championships do (support Kobe being clutch). … If I had to draft a player, I would draft LeBron, no question. But at the end of a game, Kobe and LeBron, Kobe and Jordan, they want the ball. Something about those moments, they’re not running from. We’ve seen times where LeBron should’ve been that guy and made those clutch shots, and he didn’t make those plays. A lot of times he had Kyrie to make those plays. Kobe and Jordan wanted the ball. We knew at the end of games that they were going to make these plays and that they wanted them. I’m not taking [anything] from LeBron but if I had the choice, I would go with Kobe.”
Jackson isn’t alone in that thinking as many would take Bryant in those clutch situations as well. There are so many memories of Kobe rising to the occasion in the final seconds that it’s hard to go against him, despite what some statistics may say.
The same can be said for Jordan who has plenty of highlight reels dedicated to his clutch plays. James has certainly come up clutch plenty of times, but in the eyes of many, he still has a ways to go to reach the level of Bryant and Jordan.
Since Jackson’s comments, James has led the Cavaliers to a 3-0 series lead over the No. 1 seed Toronto Raptors, complete with a buzzer-beater in Game 3, to put him in the same conversation as former Lakers forward Robert Horry when it comes to NBA Playoffs history.
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