The term “GOAT”, seemed to have been coined around the same time Tom Brady exhausted the media’s ability to come up with adjectives to describe them. The trick is, that adjective, can be used in the plural form, across multiple sports. However, the discussion of who is the greatest “athlete” of all time is the one you see Michael Wilbon or Max Kellerman lob back and forth on the afternoon programs.
As analysts, fans, and bystanders, we find ourselves in a perpetual search for the, “the next big thing”, as each year the world craves for a superstar to fixate one. With TB12, it’s not hard. All he’s done is earn two league MVP awards, and decorate a trophy case with four Super Bowl rings. Which, sadly, is four more than I currently possess. That Brady has accrued this type of success over the course of his soon to be seventeen-year tenure in the league is not the surprising part. What is surprising is how he’s done it, with the spotlight of the sports world, and in fact the world, planted on him since his first title run back in 2001.
You’ll read a plethora of archived pieces on sites like Bleacher Report, almost belaboring the fact that he was a sixth-round pick, out of a school that 3d-prints elite signal callers. I don’t care about how late he was drafted. All I care about is that he will be immortalized in Canton, OH.
So, with that said, the inevitable interrogatory becomes this: Is Tom Brady Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Let’s find out.
MJ and Lebron are hardline legends. Able to put a check in the box for all criteria therein. Of course, you don’t reach the apex of your field without making a few enemies along the way. Like Brady, these two individuals are remarkably polarizing. Suffice it to say that geography is prone to intensify this emotion. They engulf pop culture with their presence. From interviews on the late-night circuits, to guest appearances on ubiquitous shows like Saturday Night Live.
When Lebron left Cleveland, I remember consideration for putting, “Make Lebron lose” on my Christmas list, instead of a new Playstation controller. I still got the Playstation controller, but you get my point. Yet his greatness cannot be denied. So too with MJ, and Brady, a special space of hate is reserved in the hearts of Pistons fans and supporters of the Michigan State Spartans.
I’m going to speed this up like the seventh season of “Game of Thrones.” Though Brady’s career might not have the high-stakes melodrama of “A Song of Fire and Ice”, it’s had the same staggering heights of Michael Jordan’s career. Brady won’t come back from retirement to play for the Washington Wizards, but he will have the right to claim that he handled the slings and arrows of his career, with a measure of professionalism and decorum.
Brady, while like Lebron, is certainly a player of his time, does not whine nearly as much. Additionally, Brady and his teammates go into each season as prohibitive favorites to win it all. Now with this nifty little swap which sent Isaiah Thomas to the Cavs, Lebron might not have to look up at Golden State much longer, but right now, he does. Jordan’s Bulls looked up at no one. Nor did Brady’s Patriots.
What do you think? Who are these players to you? And, more importantly, what does Tom Brady’s legacy mean to you? Isn’t this fun?