Stephen A. Smith has done it again.
The beloved yet cantankerous ESPN sports reporter ripped into NBA legend Isiah Thomas in a debate about every NBA fan’s favourite topic.
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Smith was set off when the three-time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons said it was James who boasted the superior resume.
Thomas, one of Jordan’s earliest and biggest rivals when the Pistons had the wood over the Chicago Bulls in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said it was beyond doubt that James would hold the title as the NBA’s best if he goes on to win his fourth championship.
“When LeBron James is all said and done, I don’t even think there will be a doubt in terms of who will be the greatest player to ever play our sport was,” Thomas said on ESPN.
“He will be it.”
Subsequently Smith, who his not known for holding back when confronted with a controversial opinion, loaded up an absolutely epic response for the back and forth argument he explained he and Thomas had been having for years now.
In typical fashion, he started with a bang.
“Hell no,” he stated bluntly.
“I thought it was utterly ridiculous then, I think it’s ridiculous now,” he said.
“I’m almost uncomfortable talking about this, because I don’t want to take anything away from the greatness of LeBron. Or the fact that he’s about to capture his fourth ring, or the fact that he’s worthy of being on the Mount Rushmore of basketball, because that’s how phenomenal I think LeBron James is.
“But he ain’t MJ.”
Smith was even more frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement Thomas gave to the different eras of the NBA in which Jordan and James have played.
The fiery host said Jordan’s era was clearly physically tougher, which made it hard to put LeBron ahead of the Bulls legend.
“What I find most egregious, most blasphemous about Isiah Thomas’ statement, is that he ignores the era he was playing in, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“It was very physical, it was very volatile … I’m talking about banging bodies, ‘Jordan Rules’, people getting assaulted and only getting a foul called against the person who assaulted them, as opposed to today where you can get ejected for having bad breath.
“LeBron James at 6’9”, 260-pounds is playing in the softest era we have ever seen in NBA basketball.
“The fact that Isiah Thomas ignored that, is beyond me.”
Lakers to honour Kobe Bryant in game five of NBA Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers will switch to their "Black Mamba" jerseys in honour of the late Kobe Bryant when they seek a record-tying 17th NBA championship on Friday.
The Lakers, who lead the Miami Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, are 4-0 this postseason when wearing the Bryant-designed alternate jerseys, which are black with gold trim and feature a subtle snakeskin pattern.
Bryant's nickname was "Black Mamba".
"It's always special to represent someone that meant so much, not only to the game but also to the Lakers organisation for 20-plus years," Lakers forward LeBron James said after his team wore the jerseys in Game Two of the NBA Finals.
"For us to honour him, being on the floor, this is what it's all about."
The Lakers had originally planned to wear the jerseys for a potential Game Seven but decided move it up for Friday's game at Disney World in Florida, where the season resumed in July after a four-month COVID-19 hiatus.
The uniforms were introduced during the 2017-18 season.
Bryant, one of the greatest players of his generation who won five NBA titles during a 20-year career with the Lakers, was killed along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in January.
In addition to the original jersey design, the uniforms also feature a patch bearing the number two, Gianna's jersey number, inside a white heart.
Anthony Davis on being snubbed for Defensive Player of the Year, LeBron James snubbed MVP and Rob Pelinka voted 7th for exec of year: "That's kind of been a thing this year... but if we are able to win one more game then no one cares about the awards. We will all be champions."— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 8, 2020
Bryant's widow went on Instagram to express her excitement over the jersey choice for the potential series clincher.
"Mamba and Mambacita jerseys approved for game 5," Vanessa Bryant wrote in post on Wednesday night. "Let's go @lakers."
Should the Lakers win the championship this year it would be the franchise's first since Bryant led the team to the second of back-to-back titles in 2010 and tie them with the Boston Celtics for most championships in NBA history.
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