This one’s for Cleveland.


I’ve never felt thrilled for another city’s fans. Not like this.

That is nearly the exact same intro I used for my column May 14, 2010, the day after the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics — AKA the final game LeBron played as a member of the Cavs until his return last year.

You’ll notice, though, that it’s not EXACTLY the same intro. We’ve got one key word that’s different. Forget “ill.” Add “thrilled.” Continue reading “This one’s for Cleveland.”

The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore

MJ and LeBron are both on my NBA Mount Rushmore. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/ Getty Images)
MJ and LeBron are both on my NBA Mount Rushmore. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/
Getty Images)

The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

LeBron James’ prediction that he will one day be part of an “NBA Mount Rushmore” has, not surprisingly, stirred up debate over the NBA’s greatest players. LeBron’s pre-LeBron Rushmore was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. Kobe Bryant’s list is the same as LeBron’s though with Bill Russell in place of Oscar Robertson. Walt Frazier honored Jordan, Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Dwight Howard dropped an all centers edition with Russell, Kareem, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.

The lists go on. Continue reading “The NBA’s True Mount Rushmore”

The 1993 Bulls and LeBron James: a look back, and a look ahead

The 1993 Bulls and LeBron James: a look back, and a look ahead

Originally posted June 20, 2013

Michael Jordan scored the first nine points of the 4th quarter of Game 6 of the 1993 Finals -- Pax scored the last three.
Michael Jordan scored the first nine points of the 4th quarter of Game 6 of the 1993 Finals — Pax scored the last three.

If I could watch only one Bulls Finals game for the rest of my life, it would be Game 6, June 20, 1993: Bulls 99, Suns 98. The night the Bulls secured their legacy as one of the premier teams in league history. The night “Paxson for three!” became every young Chicago hooper’s on-court self-exclamation.

There are a few reasons this game gets the nod for me. One, of course, is the remarkable final 45 seconds: Continue reading “The 1993 Bulls and LeBron James: a look back, and a look ahead”

Kobe vs. LeBron vs. Jordan vs. Durant vs. Steph — playoff scoring lows

LeBron vs. Kobe vs. Mike vs. KD…

“would you looka here readjack..Game 7, and the Bigs for the #Lakers had to come to the rescue once again…hmmmm”

That tweet came from my pal Shaun Davis as part of an ongoing discussion between the two of us concerning Kobe, LeBron, and the definition of hoops greatness. Mr. Davis was referring to Kobe Bryant’s 17-point Game 7 performance against the Denver Nuggets Saturday night, a truly poor showing for one of the League’s all-time greats, especially when you consider that Kevin Garnett — with one more NBA season to his name (and his legs) — posted a 28-14 with 5 blocks to close out Atlanta two nights before.

Shaun’s tweet got me thinking about Kobe, LeBron, and the gold standard Mr. Jordan, and put me in a mood for some statistical research concerning the low scoring playoff games of the League’s premier star and his two high profile successors. The sample section is every postseason game (through the first round of this year’s playoffs) in which the player in question played at least 30 minutes.

I’m going to leave the conclusions to you, the reader, and simply provide the findings. All stats are from Basketball Reference. Hit the game finder for your own discoveries.


*** UPDATED 21 MAY 2014 ***

I am updating this post today, in the middle of the playoffs, because why not? Also, to spice things up, I am adding Kevin Durant along with three categories. I will update again after the Finals.

*** UPDATED 29 MAY 2014 ***

LeBron set his new playoff scoring low last night with 7 points in Miami’s 93-90 loss. However, he only played 24 minutes, which is why I am leaving him off this list. Here is the box score.

*** UPDATED 2 JUNE 2016 ***

Amazing how quickly the NBA has changed. When I last updated this post, Steph Curry was a new All-Star scoring 24 points per game. Now he’s the two-time defending MVP and a member of the 30 ppg club. As such, we need to get him in here. Updated through Game 1 of the 2016 Finals.

*** UPDATED 21 MAY 2017 ***

LeBron threw up an 11-pointer tonight in Game 3 of the East Finals vs. Boston. Time to update.

And of course, KD and Steph are now teammates. I’ll update again after the Finals.

Okay, let’s get to it.

Continue reading “Kobe vs. LeBron vs. Jordan vs. Durant vs. Steph — playoff scoring lows”

On the John: The Rise and Plateau of LeBron James

On the John

The Rise and Plateau of LeBron James

Originally completed May 15, 2011

When the final buzzer sounded on Thursday night’s Bulls-Hawks game, my excitement for Bulls-Heat overwhelmed me. We were at Rokwelz Bar in Orland Park waiting for G to perform, and Ricky and I were seated at the bar drinking Budweiser and Blue Russians and discussing every angle of these 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Already the commentators were remarking on the difference between the Bulls’ post-series celebration and that of Miami’s one night earlier; while the Bulls high-fived and slapped backs and strode confidently toward the locker room with their 20 point victory in hand, the Heat’s advancement to the conference finals provoked a veritable hug-n-tears fest, LeBron and Wade and Bosh and Juwan Howard holding each other and shaking and soaking in the home crowd’s love. Continue reading “On the John: The Rise and Plateau of LeBron James”

March 8, 2011: And let your poor heart, break a little.

Time to Settle Accounts

March 8, 2011: And let your poor heart, break a little.

As time goes by.

It was my first Bulls game in 15 months. One day earlier, my beloved Bulls entered Miami and bested the Heat in a contest anxiously watched and widely discussed, especially after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra committed a PR faux-pas by stating that “there are a couple guys crying in the locker room right now.” Continue reading “March 8, 2011: And let your poor heart, break a little.”

Between Triple-Dubs: Six Great ASG Performances that Didn’t Win MVP

Between Triple-Dubs: Six Great ASG Performances that Didn’t Win MVP

Kobe and Michael and back again.

It is 2011 and basketball is different. Players dunk with their toes completely behind the foul line, and they bag All-Star triple doubles with 29 points instead of 14, and they collect 37 points and 14 boards at age 32. That last line belongs to the great Kobe Bryant, who produced a brilliant turn-back-the-clock performance in Sunday’s All-Star Game, an avalanche of attacking dunks and up-and-unders and fall-away gems that was just enough to bury the East. Continue reading “Between Triple-Dubs: Six Great ASG Performances that Didn’t Win MVP”

On the John: Burn on, big river, burn on

On the John

Burn on, big river, burn on

Originally completed July 9, 2010

Growing up ain’t easy…

A nine-year-old Cleveland boy woke up this morning a new man. His world crumbled last night when the words “South Beach” fell on his ears. He was sitting in his inflatable Cleveland Cavaliers chair when it happened, wearing the child-sized JAMES 23 jersey his parents bought him for his eighth birthday. It was the only item on his list that year. Continue reading “On the John: Burn on, big river, burn on”

On the John: Keeping it all in house

On the John

Keeping it all in house

Originally completed July 8, 2010

Where to?
Where to?

Let’s talk about LeBron, the Bulls, NBA super teams, free agent decision-making, corporate sports, intimate relationships, and the future of professional athletics.

It happens today. After many moons, after many false scoops, LeBron James tells everyone who cares where he will be balling for the next few years.

Where’s he signing? That question has been traveling two years to get here. And now it’s here. And you have to say. Call it… Continue reading “On the John: Keeping it all in house”