The Highlander Complex in the NBA

"There can only be one." That was the famous theme that went along with the Highlander. For those not familiar with Highlander, it all began back in 1986 when Christopher Lambert starred as Connor MacLeod in the original movie that started the whole franchise. MacLeod was an Immortal and the only way the Immortals could die was if they were beheaded. The Immortals' goal was to be the last one standing and the last few would gather to battle each other in "The Gathering" in order to win "The Prize"(the last Highlander standing, having ultimate power and knowledge). Since that original movie, the Highlander spawned, five more movies, two television series and animated versions of the Highlander. The Highlander leveraged a cult following and turned it into a franchise. Speaking of franchises and there only being one, it seems in sports a lot of fans seems to think there can only be one player atop the mountain.

The Highlander complex has been on full display during the NBA season and it revolves around one LeBron Raymone James. The best player in the NBA is in his 15th season and he is doing some great things at age 33. He is doing so many things that people are bringing his name up in the GOAT conversation again. Of course, there are those that disagree when he is brought up. While disagreeing, it always is convenient how the names Michael Jeffrey Jordan and Kobe Bean Bryant seem to surface. And when those names are brought up, it seems like people champion them while tearing down the other two they did not select as the greatest of all time. The results are social media insanity claiming who is the best at all costs. Sure, some of it has it's merit, but it can easily spin out of control and some insane stats that make no sense for anyone on either side of the equation can get put out there, which does not help a debate at all.

What tends to get lost in some of these debates over time is the fact that all three are great players. All three have had signature moments in their illustrious basketball histories. Jordan hit game-winners versus the Cavs, glided through the lane on the Lakers and hit a game-winning jumper to carry him into his first retirement. Kobe scored 81 points versus the Raptors, won titles with and without Shaq and scored big in his final game. LeBron took a pretty bad Cleveland Cavaliers team to the 2007 NBA Finals, had an incredible Game 6 versus Paul Pierce and Boston in an elimination game and helped engineer an incredible comeback versus a 73 win Golden State Warriors team when down 3-1 in the NBA Finals. All three of these guys have greatness written all over their careers. Instead of people celebrating those things, it seems like everyone is stuck on the GOAT conversation.

The one thing people may want to realize is that greatness does not come around all the time. When you see it, enjoy it and relish the opportunities to watch it. There may be only one GOAT, but greatness should not be sacrificed for it.

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1 Response

  1. In my lifetime, I’d been blessed with the opportunity to see Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play.
    Who’s the best?
    I use the following intangible to separate one from the other.
    MJ carried mediocre teammates to multiple titles, however Kobe with all his talent could not and LeBron needed time away from home to figure out how to do it.
    But…
    LeBron Raymond James is coming after the Legend of The GOAT now…Guns Blazing!

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