Dennis Rodman claims LeBron James would be 'just an average player' in 80s or 90s

Jim Rogash

NBA rebounding legend Dennis Rodman thinks Miami Heat superstar LeBron James would be "just an average player" if he played in the 1980s and 90s. It's a bold opinion that raises this question: why does anyone listen to Dennis Rodman anymore?

LeBron James posted yet another postseason triple-double on Thursday night in Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals, but NBA rebounding legend Dennis Rodman doesn't understand why everyone is so impressed. In fact, Rodman thinks the nearly superhuman Miami Heat star who has dominated the NBA and earned league MVP honors four of the last five seasons would be "just an average player" if he had to compete against players from the late 1980s or early '90s. Feel free to tune out now, unless you're ready to read some wacky basketball opinions.

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Rodman, fresh off his odd trip to North Korea, recently spoke with Dan Patrick about James and the differences between the current era of basketball and the one he played in during the '80s and '90s (via SI.com's The Point Forward):

"If LeBron was playing in the late '80s or early '90s," Rodman said, "he'd be just an average player."

...

"If Michael played today ... really? If he played the game today at 28 years old, he would average 40 points a game, probably more."

"I'm just sick and tired of people always comparing him and Michael Jordan. It's a whole different era, man."

Pressed by Patrick about an "average" LeBron, Rodman said: "Look at those teams [when Rodman played]. Look at the Cleveland Cavaliers. Look at Golden State when they had Chris Webber and all of those guys. If those teams then could play now, they would kick anybody's ass today. Are you kidding me?"

Seriously? Has Rodman been stealing Kim Jong-un's opinions? The North Korean dictator is a Michael Jordan fanatic with a video library of his NBA games and a signed basketball on display in a Pyongyang museum, so any conversations about LeBron probably turned sour during his trip. Even if the topic never came up, Rodman is clearly wrong.

An argument that points back to a more physical era of basketball doesn't carry much weight in the case of LeBron. As a 6'8, 250-pound point forward with elite passing and playmaking skills, he's one of the most unique physical specimens to ever play the game. Opponents can't keep him from getting to the rim because he's too big, too fast and too strong for individual defenders to stop him. If there's one player in the history of the game you could use a time machine to transport to any era of basketball and guarantee he would dominate opponents, it's LeBron James.

So, of course, Rodman thinks he could take LeBron on his own:

"If I was 28 years old guarding LeBron ... are you kidding me?" Rodman said. "If he scored on me, I would be like, OK, thanks. Guess what, though? Sooner or later, somebody's gotta win, somebody's gotta lose, and most of the time I don't lose."

In short, don't expect Rodman to show up in an NBA booth as an analyst any time soon.

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