Column: MJ all the way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This weekend I came to realize why people love Babe Ruth.

Obviously, I never got a chance to watch him play, unless John Goodman’s role in &8220;Babe&8221; counts, but by watching the NBA playoffs on Saturday and Sunday it became crystal clear.

I look at Michael Jordan the way baseball fans look at Babe Ruth. No one, no matter what they do or how they do it, will ever be as good in my mind.

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With Barry Bonds on the heels of Ruth to the magical baseball number of 714 there is a lot being made of the fact that there is not a lot being made of the chase and pass of the Great Bambino.

However, no one wants to see their athletic &8220;god&8221; passed by a mere mortal &045;&160;especially one that allegedly has only done it thanks to four-letter words like &8220;Cream&8221; and &8220;Clear.&8221;

The Babe is larger than life to many who grew up during that time and that is exactly what MJ is to me.

His Airness is the greatest ever and this weekend just cemented that fact for me.

I don’t recall Jordan ever being held to three shots in a Game 7 of an NBA playoff series.

Kobe Bryant is supposed to be the closest thing to Jordan we have seen since he left the game.

Jordan made playoff games must-see-TV. Kobe made his most recent Game 7 must-pout-TV.

These are the games where Jordan would have hit the jumper across the lane, landed pumping his fist while Craig Elho lay distraught in the corner of the court. But instead of heroics we got gripes from Bryant.

For a guy who spent all season hoisting shot after shot when things got tough in the playoffs he went into a shell only to have postgame comments like &8220;this is a team effort, we all have to do our part.&8221;

When Jordan got mad he got even and then he went to work on you. Bryant gets mad, throws a few more elbows and then blames someone else &045;&160;not very MJ-like.

So now that I was able to brush Bryant aside there was just one more individual who is considered a serious threat to the Jordan crown.

LeBron &8220;King&8221; James’ effort on Sunday proved one thing &045;&160;he isn’t playing Washington anymore.

I know this is just LeBron’s first playoff series and Jordan struggled early in his career, but with all the hype that surrounded James’ first round exploits it was mind-boggling to me that a king could be overthrown so easily.

LeBron was kept out of the lane and couldn’t hit his jump shots with consistency. It got so bad that James didn’t play in the fourth quarter thanks to coach’s decision.

James had a tremendous first round series against Washington, but honestly I can’t say that he was much better than Gilbert Arenas. Jordan rose more than heads and shoulders above the competition. LeBron was good in his first series but Arenas &045;&160;who was not an all-star after the first vote &045;&160;was almost his equal.

Kobe may have won more early in his career (thanks Shaq) and LeBron may be setting scoring, rebounding and assist records at an early age (thanks to skipping college) but there is only one MJ no matter what the numbers may say.

Barry will pass the Babe, LeBron may do great things, but for many Babe will still be the best and no one will top Michael for me.