Magic, Jordan and Barkley All Have a Problem With LeBron James?

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( For some reason, NBA veterans have decided to start weighing in on the decision-making skills of LeBron James. First, there was Michael Jordan, who said that he would never join forces with other great players in order to go after a championship. Then Sir Charles Barkley (not known for the most brilliant commentary in the world) agreed with Jordan.

Now, Magic Johnson has added himself to the list. In a recent interview at Baruch College in New York, Johnson discussed his rivalry with Larry  Bird and how he never would have played with Bird:

We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about,” said Johnson. “From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”

I’m not quite sure why the old fat men of the NBA are deciding to weigh in on the decisions being made by younger players. This is a new generation, and it’s sad to watch history repeat itself, with old men thinking that they know everything that young people do not. During Michael Jordan’s career, he took criticism from Wilt Chamberlain, who said that Jordan would never have dominated the game against him.

Perhaps, rather than taking the remarks by Jordan, Barkley and Johnson to imply that they are purer competitors than James, their viewpoints may simply prove that they were selfish and myopic. Black men working together to achieve a common purpose can be more productive than simply trying to destroy one another.

I, for one, congratulate LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for letting go of their selfish ambitions and coming together for a common cause. It cost them a great deal of money to do this, but the long-term benefits could be tremendous. This desire and ability to work together will hopefully translate into powerful joint work in business or charity, after their careers are over.

An added truth is that by collaborating on their career decisions, James, Bosh and Wade have achieved a degree of leverage over team ownership that Jordan and company were never able to achieve. NBA team owners are largely able to control the fates of individual players (even Jordan was manipulated during his career) because they stick together and players do not. So, the decision to not compete with your opponent can sometimes make you more competitive than ever. Jordan and his friends may want to take notes.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins