Joao Saraiva wrote:In these scenarios, what would be the bigger legacy boost?
1. Jordan misses the shot in 98 and the Jazz go on to win game 7 at home. Imagine Malone plays to his averages in the 98 finals but goes out with the W. Everything else remains the same for everyone. How big is the legacy boost for Karl Malone? Top 10 ever?
2. LeBron has no meltdown vs Dallas in 11. Everything else remains the same. He wins FMVP and the Heat go on to 3-peat, and then he still goes to Cleveland. Assume he plays as well as he did vs the Bulls in the ECF.
3. Spurs win in 13. Tim Duncan wins 6 championships and they win against the Heat B2B in the finals. Remember he had a tremendous game 6.
I said Malone, but I think LeBron has an argument.
For Malone, it's not just that winning a championship helps cement his MVPs as legitimate. A win like this would let him be seen as the only man to ever really top Jordan. I think it's pretty much a given that Malone gets ranked by most ahead of Olajuwon with that feather in his cap, and many others would put him ahead of guys like Magic & Bird, but more than anything else, he's seen as a different thing in people's minds.
For LeBron, I actually don't think it would help that much for most people because LeBron is already basically just a spot below Jordan, and there's a strong urge in most to hold the flaws in LeBron's career against him compared to the "spotless" resume of Jordan. Remove '11 from the equation, and there's still '09 & '10 to consider.
However for me personally, '11 is a really big deal. I think criticisms of LeBron in '09 are silly, and I tended to interpret his '10 walkabout against the Celtics through the lens of his impending free agency. The '11 finals walkabout meant that I could no longer see '10 as a fluke and had to start taking earnestly what the quirk was in LeBron's brain that led him to be prone to this.
(This means, incidentally, that if '11 hadn't happened, I would still be analyzing LeBron assuming something was a fluke that really wasn't a fluke. That's how alternative histories go. One version of events tends to yield more information than another.)
Had '11 not happened then, I'd probably see LeBron as a guy who basically dominated as consistently as Jordan, and did so in a more sophisticated era where LeBron's talents give him a real edge over Jordan. I'd imagine that either after '16 or '17 I'd already have him over Jordan
Instead, I still have Jordan ahead of him. LeBron can still pass him, but it's still no given.
As for Duncan, I don't think it has a big effect on his legacy. I don't see another title won in that way making him into a serious GOAT contender, and he's already only just below GOAT contender status.