Witness! Watching Lionel Messi earlier this week play his virtuoso act against Arsenal in their Champions League quarterfinal match was the most brilliant display of soccer I can ever recall watching in my adult life. He may have had more brilliant displays of dribbling and more impressive individual goals, but his performance on Tuesday was nothing short of genius. In case you missed it, here’s the recap of the master at his craft:
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!
What he’s doing out on the field is ridiculously absurd when you consider that he’s only 5’7″, he’s 22 years old, and he was diagnosed with hormone growth deficiency when he was 11. Fast forward a decade from then, and he’s the greatest player alive today, and arguably the greatest of all time. It’s difficult to compare him to any other current player, as he does things on the field that no one else is capable of doing. Many soccer pundits and analysts logically draw comparisons of him to Diego Maradona, who himself anointed Messi his successor, but that’s not doing justice to either. Messi is his own individual, and he expresses himself on the field through his own singular character. Simply put, he is like no other, he is Messi, and there is only one. And then I started thinking, who, if any, does he remind me of in the rest of the sporting universe? Again, there is only one, and his name is Lebron James.
Watching Lebron from his inception as a professional athlete has been one of the most gratifying experiences a sports fan could ever hope for. Like he clairvoyantly stated, he is more than an athlete, he is more than an entertainer, he is a global icon. Lebron, like Messi, in his short career has rewritten and redefined the barriers of what an athlete can do playing sports. Watching him play is an act of viewing a visual symphony of power and athleticism with a touch of flair. He evokes the same emotions as Messi, that of sheer exhilaration and excitement. Here’s just a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing to a captivated audience of 20,000 people.
Everyone ride the L-train!
I could try to go on about how one is more thrilling to watch than the other, but that would just be a bunch of nonsense and filler words. I love watching both equally, they embody what makes sport so beautiful. So instead, I’ll just leave you with some clips of the two to decide who you prefer. But in the end, it’s about being entertained. So sit back and enjoy the show.
We are all witnesses.