Commentary

Better athlete? LeBron vs Wade

Among two All-Star teammates, LeBron outmatches D-Wade ... barely

Originally Published: November 7, 2011
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
LeBron JamesAlexander Tamargo/WireImageWhat happens when these two go one-on-one?

When it comes to basketball skills, LeBron James knows few equals in most phases of the game. But in terms of pure athleticism, he need only look across the locker room to find another player to measure himself against. Dwyane Wade has proved himself one of the game's most complete athletes excelling in every phase. In terms of pure athletic skill, neither have a true weakness making this our closest matchup yet.

But which one of these All-Star teammates is the best athlete? Rated on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best, here's how I see LeBron and D-Wade matching up.

Leaping ability

James and Wade have left lasting scars on defenses and highlight reels with their brand of game-changing hops. Both are versatile leapers generously mixing up their dunk opportunities off of both one and two legs depending on the situation.

But no one in the league can power up off of one leg the way James can. With a full head of steam he can get his head equal with the rim. His tomahawk jams have become the NBA's signature highlight. James is a master improviser around the rim, and combined with his long arms, he gets enough elevation to outleap nearly any attempt to block his shot.


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Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine