By Quinn Eaton
There is great debate about who the best basketball player to ever live actually is. Sports announcers and analysts have been arguing for years on end about who tops this impressive list. Many go to the face of basketball, a man best known for his role in the smash movie known as Space Jam, Michael Jordan. Sure, he won 6 NBA Championships and had 6 Finals MVPs to go along with it, but those numbers aren’t impossible for others to attain. Many say Lebron James, the great hope of Akron, is the so called “King of the Hill,” but even he has had great ups and downs in his career. From there, the list drops off with talents such as Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, and there’s just no clear cut favorite to hold the title of the best ever to play the game. But people are seeming to forget about a man from Brownsburg, Indiana. Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? The answer is Gordon Hayward.
It becomes abundantly clear when you just simply look at the stats. When you compare Gordan to Lebron and Jordan statistically, there really is just no comparison and it is evident that Hayward is the better all-around player. To begin, out of the three players, Gordon Hayward is the only one to have won the State Title in his high school career. In the 2008 Indiana State Championship game, Hayward hit a game winning layup to put Merion High School on top 40 to 39. Lebron and Michael failed to bring their respective high schools state titles. Hayward went on to play for the Bulldogs of Butler University in college, and was inches from bringing them a National Championship when he famously almost hit a half-court shot to take down the powerhouse Duke Blue Devils. Now this is where many people say “well Jordan hit a game winning shot in the national championship in 1982,” but many don’t think that about how his jump shot was inside the lane, whereas Hayward’s was a heave from half court to win. Put the players in each other’s situations, and it is clear that Hayward could’ve easily sank a fading jumper from the top of the key. Plus, Gordon led an underdog Butler team against all odds to the championship, while Jordan was part of a talented team at North Carolina under Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith. Lebron cannot be compared in this area because he chose to forego college and enter straight into the NBA.
Their NBA career averages are extremely close when looked at carefully. Jordan averaged 30.1 points a game and shot .497% for his career. Lebron’s current average is 27.2 points a game and has shot a stellar .504% from the field in his career. Gordon Hayward, standing at 6’8, has a career average at 15.1 points per game and has shot .446% for his NBA career. So his numbers don’t match up at the moment with these two greats, but you must keep in mind that he’s only been in the league for 8 or 9 years and his best basketball is still ahead of him, unlike the other two players who have already passed their prime. Hayward has a steep hill to climb to become statistically better, but for him it can easily be achieved. Gordon beats both players in height, and most definitely in heart. He is of course better than Michael Jordan, and greatly believes himself to be better than Lebron. Hayward said this concerning King James:
"One on one versus Lebron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation."
If people argue that Lebron is better than MJ, then this quote right here is all the proof you need to know that Gordon Hayward is the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport.
Photo Credits: msn.com