Skip Bayless: LeBron is against re-seeding the playoffs because it affects his annual Eastern Conference cakewalk

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In his conversation with Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor, Skip Bayless reacts to Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James saying 'let's not get too crazy" regarding possibly changing the NBA playoffs to combine the East and West conferences. Should LeBron embrace a tougher road to the finals?

- Are we going to speak real on this show or not?

- Yeah, speak big, all the way [INAUDIBLE].

- Are we going to cut to the chase or not? Are we going to get to the bottom-bottom line here or not?

- Yeah, what's the bottom line?

- I'm going to call baloney on LeShannon Sharpe and on LeBron James because let's get real. The reason LeBron is saying, hold on, wait a minute, don't reseed is-- that's not his Eastern Conference pride talking. That's not cyclical pride talking. That is his legacy screaming, hold on, wait a second, don't take away my cakewalk path to another NBA Finals. That's all that's going on here because you know and I know that if, in fact, LeBron James is ever going to even threaten the legacy of one Michael Jeffrey Jordan, the only way he's going to do that is with a record number of finals appearances.

He is about to-- and I've already conceded this to you-- he's about to play in his eighth finals thanks to Dan Gilbert and the trade of the century at the trade deadline. You think that. I think that.

I don't even care who comes out of the West. It's not really about the West, it's about the East, because the only argument you and your billions of blind witnesses out there will have in the end for LeBron James versus Michael Jordan is, oh, look what happened, LeBron played in 10 straight NBA Finals. And if LeBron in fact stays in Cleveland-- which now we are starting to lean toward he--

- Looks like he might.

- --looks he might stay. I'm going to give him this. I think he could play in 10 straight NBA Finals. Now the odds are-- the odds are-- the Las Vegas odds are that he's going to wind up 3 and 8 in those finals. That's not very good. But 10 straight finals, that's pretty great.

- [INAUDIBLE] can be no 3 and 8. You're crazy.

SKIP BAYLESS: Well, am I crazy?

- Yeah.

SKIP BAYLESS: What if he runs into Golden State the next two times? What if Houston gets better and better? What if San Antonio ever gets back healthy and happy?

- Well, what if we run over Golden State this year in the finals?

- You might, but I'm just saying the odds are you will not be favored against Golden-- I just said, the Vegas odds are you're going to wind up 3 and 8 if you play in 10 straight finals. So the point is that you could say, look, our man was in 10 straight finals, and Michael Jordan never played in more than three in a row, right?


- That's in large part because he had a forced sabbatical that cost him two straight championships or he could have won eight straight, and then Jerry Krause blew up the Bulls way ahead of schedule. So Michael Jordan probably should have won 10 straight championships, not 10 straight finals. He should've won 10 straight championships.

- What difference does it-- hold on Skip. What difference does it make if Jerry Krause blows it up? If he's that guy, he doesn't need Phil. He doesn't need Scottie and Dennis Rodman. So if Jerry Krause blows it up, all you've got to do is just do what you do Michael Jordan, because you know you're the greatest player of all time.

- No, but he was loyal to a head coach who had been with him through all his championships. So he said, if he goes, I go, and he stood by his word. And when Jerry Krause ran Phil out the door, in favor of Tim Floyd that they used to joke about being Pink Floyd--

- Yeah.

- --then Michael just stood right up and held a big press conference and said, guess what, I'm gone.

- So in other words, back in the late '90s, Michael Jordan was throwing his weight around, kind of like what LeBron is doing now, but LeBron gets ripped for it. Is that what you're telling me Skip Bayless?

- I don't even know what you're talking about.

- You know what I'm talking about.

- Throwing his weight around?

- He threatened. He said if he goes, I go.

- If who goes?

- Phil Jackson. You said Michael Jordan said if--

- Yeah. OK, but what did LeBron threaten? I don't even know what he threatened.

- No, you said, oh, he gets his way, like LeBron James is-

- Well he took his talents to South Beach to join forces when Michael never took his talents anywhere.

- He took his talent home. He took his talents to the Birmingham Barons.

- OK, now that was forced. That came from above, but that wasn't his doing.

- It was his doing.

- OK, it was his doing--

- Yeah, exactly.

- --and he was responsible for it. But OK, so back to this. So, why has LeBron been able to make eight straight finals? Well, in large part it's because the East is in a long dry cycle. Would you agree with that?


- OK, so the East has, year after year for eight straight years, been weaker than the West. And while LeBron has had a virtual cakewalk-- and I'm about to go through the cakewalk year by year starting back with the Heat year in 2011. But while that's been going on, the West has had to battle through a murderer's row of much more powerful teams. So the West is beating itself up. It's taking its pound of flesh. It's getting worn out and beaten up physically by each other before it gets to a fresher LeBron and company. Wouldn't you say that's a big advantage for LeBron?

- No, it just happens, kind of like the NFC's beaten each other up right before they get to the Patriots. But [INAUDIBLE].

- Well, I'm just saying that this has happened for eight straight years.

SHANNON SHARPE: No it hasn't.

- It's been a big advantage LeBron in the East and when he gets to the West. Now does he face a better team when he gets to the West? Well, oftentimes he does. But that team has had a long, hard road to get to LeBron James, right?

- But Skip, but nobody said anything in an eight-year span when Michael Jordan went to six finals and won. Nobody talked about it.

- OK, because the East was tougher than the West. Everybody agreed it was.

- Skip, listen, will we stop with this Skip? Just because you play a physical style of basketball-- there's a reason why the ratings now are better than back then for the simple fact nobody wanted to see that goon-squad basketball.

- OK, but that doesn't make it any easier than today's basketball.

- No.

- I'm just saying, the East was better than the West in those days. It was just a harder path.

- Well, let me ask you a question. If you don't mind me asking, did you have a problem with Magic Johnson going to 9 finals in 12 years?

- I don't-- let's not change the subject. Unless you can beat me at this debate right here--

- Skip!

- --don't change the subject.

- But Skip--

- Just explain to me--

- Skip, no, because--

- I'm just explaining why LeBron is saying, hold on, let's not reseed so quickly because he would lose his cakewalk.

- Oh, it's a cakewalk?

- Well it is, OK? So let's look at his cakewalk path. So I'm going to give you this. I'm going to go back to the first year, 2011. That was a little tougher. Let me get LeBron's up here.

OK, so he got Philly in the first round, 41 and 41 and it was a 3 to 1, OK. But then those Celtics were still pretty potent. They were at the-- they were nearing the end of their run. That was the second-round matchup that year. It was still 4 to 1 Heat. And remember, LeBron had joined forces with Dwyane and Chris Bosh and Pat Riley. And so it's 4 to 1. And then they get the Bulls.

Now that Bulls team was really good during the year, 62 and 20 with the MVP in Derrick Rose. But it was 4 to 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. So was it-- was it a great team? No, it wasn't a great team, but I'm going to give you it was a really good team. I'm going to give you those two, Boston and then the Bulls, really good.

But again, the Heat they were better than those teams. Wouldn't you agree? Weren't they better? Weren't they favored to win those series?