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 SI.com. “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.