The NBA’s logo, Hall of Famer, and former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jerry West sang Russell Westbrook’s praises Friday on ESPN. “We’re looking at a reincarnation of Michael Jordan who might be a little better in terms of athletic ability,” said West, now a consultant for the Golden State Warriors.
Look, Russell Westbrook had a historic season. He will be a deserving MVP in a season where there are three, if not four, deserving candidates. But to compare him to Michael Jordan is borderline absurd, as evidenced by West himself.
Would you say of any of Jordan’s five MVP’s — 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, or 1998 — were not definitive enough to commit to making a call? West says that of Westbrook here. And yes, Jordan lost the MVP in 1990 — another historically good race, but that was before anyone was calling him the greatest ever. The only reason he didn’t win in 1993 and 1997 was because people got tired of voting for him!
Maybe Westbrook does have more athletic ability than Jordan. Athletes today have better conditioning programs, know how to keep nutritional diets and fly on chartered jets. Their bodies are probably in better shape than athletes of 20 years ago. And yes, Westbrook has astounding competitive drive.
But to compare anyone to Jordan without a long, extensive history of winning and excellence (see James, LeBron for the standard we’ve laid out on Jordan comparisons) is just plain wrong.