HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — These same words from a different player, say Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, might have caused an actual stir in the basketball universe.
But when Chicago native Dwyane Wade acknowledges that Michael Jordan still has the title of greatest of all-time tightly in his grasp, as he told the Chicago Sun-Times over the weekend:
‘‘Michael is the greatest player I’ve ever seen play. I think LeBron is in that conversation of one day becoming. It’s all speculation, in a sense. He has a long way to go. He knows that. He has one championship. Michael has six! There’s a lot to say about that. LeBron is a dominant player. . . . But Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.’’
… it barely registers as a blip on the hoops radar.
Maybe it’s the Windy City connection or the fact that Wade’s ties to Jordan and his brand run deep. But Wade’s praise being received as a statement of fact is a bit surprising, given the legions of fans of both Bryant and James who believe one of those current stars has legitimate claim to the title of G.O.A.T.
(We are in complete agreement with Wade on that point. Jordan ranks first while Bryant and James have to finish their stellar careers before we bother slotting either one of them on the list of the all-time greats.)
Wade was also asked about the Dream Team vs. 2012 Olympic Team debate and had this to say:
‘‘I think the 2012 team was awesome, but I always look at it and say, in ’92 they had 11 of the 12 best players in the game at that time, except for Isiah Thomas, who was the only one who wasn’t on that team. If you took 11 of our 12 best players and put them on our team today, then you have more of an argument in a sense of teams.
‘‘I think the ’92 team would be dominant today. I don’t know they would have won by 50 as much, but they would still be dominant. That team was amazing.’’
That makes Wade 2-for-2 for the weekend, highlighted by the Heat stars’ fifth annual “Wade’s World Foundation,’’ which pushes reading and literacy for at-risk children.