Among other things, “The Last Dance” has done a fine job of bringing the LeBron James stans to the table.
Count Channing Frye among them.
The 13-year NBA veteran who played alongside James when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA championship showed up Friday to NBC Sports’ Talkin’ Blazers podcast with a ridiculous takedown of Jordan’s game.
“He only had really one job,” Frye said. “And that was to just score. And he did that at an amazing, amazing rate.
“But I don’t feel like his way of winning then would translate to what it is now. Guys wouldn’t want to play with him.”
Jordan’s credentials (as if you need them)
Yes, Jordan was a phenomenal scorer. The 10-time scoring champion averaged 30.1 points per game over the course of his 15-year NBA career. That average increased to 33.4 points per game in the playoffs.
So Frye got one thing right.
He wantonly overlooked Jordan’s career averages of 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He skipped Jordan leading the league in steals three times, his nine NBA All-Defensive Team honors and his Defensive Player of the Year trophy in 1988 while claiming that Jordan “only had one job.”
Also, those contributions to the basketball court apparently don’t translate to 2020.
About that bad teammate thing
Yes, Jordan was a well-documented difficult teammate who openly targeted lesser-talented players in hard-nosed practice sessions. There are certainly players in today’s game and in the ’90s who wouldn’t be around that. But here’s guessing a poll of players from both eras would lean heavily “yes” on playing with a guy who will absolutely win you rings.
In the clip above, Frye claims his growing up a Phoenix Suns fan swayed him away from Jordan. Then he listed Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and James (of course) ahead of Jordan all-time before backtracking on the equally absurd and already put-to-bed Bryant argument when challenged by host Dan Sheldon.
He then goes on to say that championships can’t count in this argument (again — OK, Channing), “because if we use championships, then Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell should be above them.” He then stumbled to correct his bad Chamberlain (two championships) take.
The MJ-LeBron debate is fine, but ...
The LeBron-MJ argument is perfectly reasonable and a fine topic of sports debate among basketball fans. Even if the LeBron arguments are clearly wrong.
But Frye’s gotta do better than this. The 36-year-old is working on his hot-take skills as he approaches the end of his career.
But hot takes can’t just be hot. They have to have some basis in reality. Otherwise, you just end up embarrassing yourself.
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