Chicago Sun-Times

Falk's LeBron comments way off the mark

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Once upon a time, David Falk was a powerhouse agent in the NBA and his impressive client roster included Michael Jordan. These days, Falk has a much lower profile, but he got some rare media attention recently by commenting on the impending free agency of LeBron James.

"He should not play in Chicago; he will always compete with Michael Jordan," Falk told "He should not play in L.A.; he will always compete with Kobe Bryant. LeBron needs his own identity.

"The worst place in the world for LeBron to go is Chicago. If he doesn't win six championships, he is a failure. If he doesn't win the MVP five times, he is a failure. Every night he walks into the building he will walk past the statue of Michael Jordan. LeBron is too big. He should not have to play in the shadow of Michael Jordan."

There are so many things wrong with that statement, I don't know where to begin. For starters, the players enter the United Center from the West side of the building and the Jordan statue in on the East side. Unless he makes a special trip, James never will see the Jordan statue.

That's a minor issue, though. The major problem with Falk's comment is that he appears to assume there can only be one great player per franchise.

According to Falk's logic, Kevin Garnett never should have joined the Boston Celtics because he won't be able to match Larry Bird's string of championships. By the way, I guess Bird shouldn't have gone to the Celtics because there was no way he could compete with Bull Russell's 11 titles.

As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant's image hasn't been hampered by playing with the same franchise as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.

The truth of the matter is great franchises have multiple great players. Their accomplishments aren't dissected and compared as much as Falk indicates.

Bulls fans aren't giddy about the prospects of signing James because they believe he'll match Jordan's accomplishments. They're excited because adding James could mean another glory era of playing basketball into June in Chicago on a yearly basis.

If James "only" manages to win two or three championships, only a few misguided Bulls fans would be disappointed with that.

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aaaayeah john i dont think any bulls fans would be disappointed if we as u say only won a championship or two everyone would be happy the bulls are in a great position to get better without having to give up a draft choice or mortgage the future, and to all these idiots who say he shouldnt come to the chi because of mj is dumb,lebron wants to prove to people he is the best and the best way to do that is come to chicago team up with the most unselfish team in the nba and play in front of fans that are loyal and knows the game

I really do think Falk's comments are just plain stupid.
All great teams go through changes of players and coaches as time goes on. This is how they stay in the conversation of great teams. The Bulls were here before M.J. & Pip, and they will be here after LeBron & Rose, because someone will take their place as the latest and greatest. Sounds like someone is trying to get "some rare media attention".

Falk's comments are on the money, despite his lack of understanding of the layout of the United Center. Yes, a franchise can have more than one great player. But LeBron's goal is not to be "a great player." He's not a 31 year-old Kevin Garnet looking to redeem himself after a failed career in Minnesota. Garnet has a nice thing going with his end of career move to get a ring (and possibly two) with several other all-stars in a team effort. But suggesting that Garnet's legacy will suffice for LeBron is ridiculous. No one is ever going to consider Garnet the greatest ever or even top-ten. LeBron's goal is to be considered the greatest ever. He's probably the greatest physical and mental talent to ever play the game in the prime of his life. Anything less than "Greatest of All Time" for him will be a disappointment. Kobe's done a lot for his quest this season to be considered the greatest but he is trying to eclipse a Bull not Magic Johnson or any other Laker. LeBron would be appreciated by Bulls fans if he attains the status of second greatest Bull ever. But this is not what LeBron wants. His legacy cries out for him to redeem Cleveland and Northeast Ohio - his home town. The Bulls are not a storied franchise like the Celtics or Lakers. Michael's legacy is that he won multiple championships for an otherwise undistinguished franchise. This can be LeBron's legacy also, but only in Cleveland.

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This page contains a single entry by John Jackson published on May 30, 2010 1:48 AM.

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