MIAMI -- There's a lot of love being tossed around before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Both teams have a high amount of respect. Neither team is going to give the other one bulletin-board material, so both teams are going to laud the other for their wondrous greatness. But there are a few comments that deserve notice.
Q. LeBron, to that end, as a student of NBA history, how do you think Tim will ultimately be regarded in this era as one of the players of this era? How do you think he'll be viewed?
LeBRON JAMES: Probably one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. If I just look at the last 15 years, he's probably been the most consistent, most dominant player that we've had as far as 15 years all together. He's won four titles, multiple All-Stars, MVP, and so on and so on.
I think he doesn't get a lot of recognition because he's not flashy like a lot of guys are. He's not jumping over people and high-flying and doing the things that attracts people to the game. But I think true basketball, true IQ people, players know how great he is. What else can you say?
It's an interesting question, and the biggest challenge that comes to mind: Has Duncan been more dominant than Kobe Bryant? The question of Kobe Bryant vs. anyone is polarizing, but Bryant vs. Duncan is a true debate worthy of years of discussion. Bryant's singular spectacular greatness vs. Duncan's ability to consistently produce while helping his team win at every turn is mirrored by their resurgence in "old age" this season.
With Duncan on the verge of matching Bryant with five titles, the debate would only become more fierce. Of course, to do so, he has to get past James. And I'm pretty sure James doesn't respect him enough to just surrender this one to him.