NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 2, 2013

Better than peers, LeBron's competition is history

Give Charles Barkley credit. He’s trying to make an argument when other candidates won’t even bother.

LeBron

James’ brilliance has sucked the drama out of the NBA’s MVP debate, and

the only real race is to see who can be first to text him

congratulations after he wins the award again.

Barkley favors San

Antonio’s Tony Parker for MVP if the Spurs finish with the league’s best

record, rejecting the notion that best player has to mean the most

valuable one. Yet make no mistake, Barkley is no James hater.

In fact, give the Hall of Famer and TNT analyst props for something else:

He’s willing to make the Michael Jordan comparison that scares off so

many others.

“They’ve got to get off saying it’s not even close, because I think it is close,” Barkley said.

And if James keeps this up, it’s only going to get closer.

Pulling

away from his peers, James’ only competition will soon — if it’s not

already — be history. He’s averaging 27.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists for a team that won its final 12 games in February, when he shot

a ridiculous 64.1 percent from the field. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra used the term “video game numbers” after James had 40 points and 16 assists against Sacramento on Wednesday, but video games become boring

once they’re this easy.

Perhaps because of Jordan’s popularity or his currently lopsided advantage in championships, many aren’t willing

to consider what Barkley believes.

“It’s unfair to compare eras,”

is the common answer from those who won’t touch the topic, such as

Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, who coached Jordan twice and whose

76ers were just beaten by James’ triple-double last week.

“I just

think you can never compare a 1996 BMW to a 2013 BMW. Different

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