In a recent ESPN The Magazine poll that 26 current NBA players participated in chose Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan over LeBron James as the player they want taking the last shot, according to ESPN.com.
About one-quarter of the 26 players, who were under anonymity, did however think that James would finish as the best player ever. But when the selecting a player that they want taking the final shot with the clock dwindling down and the game on the line, 88 percent of the votes went to Jordan and the remaining 12 percent went to Bryant.
One NBA player who took the poll did want James on the floor in the final moments but as a ball handler passing to either Bryant or Jordan.
“That’s like ranking the shortest giant,” an Eastern Conference guard said. “I’d want the ball in LeBron’s hands at the end of the game, but I’d want him to pass to Kobe or Jordan for the last shot. And don’t forget, LeBron is not a great free throw shooter, either.”
James is actually a better shooter statistically from the field when compared to Bryant and Jordan with game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime of postseason games. In his career he is at 41.2 percent (7-17) with Bryant at 25 percent (7-28) but Jordan possesses the highest percentage at 50 percent (9-18).
It has been long considered that Bryant and Jordan remain better than James in moments that are defined as “clutch” because of the numerous game-winning shots they have hit in their respective careers. James is seen as a player who at times would not take charge in those moments and would rather defer to passing.
But all in all, James was still voted by 23 percent of the players in the ESPN the Magazine poll as finishing his career as the best player in NBA history.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to match Michael Jordan’s rings, but he’ll be top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals when his career is over,” a former teammate said. “To do that this era, you have to call LeBron the greatest ever.”
James is still only 28 years old and has many more years in the NBA to play to prove that he can be considered “clutch” in game defining moments and prove he can be the greatest player of all-time by winning more championships and MVP trophies. But what remains at this current juncture is that Bryant and Jordan are still considered the players that other NBA players want taking the last shot when the game is on the line.
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