The best, ever.

June 12, 2015 | Dian Chaaban


Even if you aren’t a basketball fan, this series has become a must-see based on the notion of LeBron James achieving the greatest single athlete achievement in team sports history. Already, the Finals have produced record ratings for the ABC network, and those ratings aren't expected to decline as the series progresses because so many people are wondering if James can lead this miscellaneous collection of castoffs, an undrafted free agent, aging veterans and an offensively-limited lottery pick to an NBA championship (bringing the city its first title in a major pro sports league since 1964, btw).

For as long as I can remember, Michael Jordan has been the greatest basketball player of all time – and now – while there may be resistance, LeBron James may ultimately be seen as the greatest as their numbers shape up into similar stacks.

It seems like an appropriate time to examine the comparison as James is essentially halfway through his career barring injury (it’s also worth mentioning that it’s a career that won’t be interrupted twice by retirements and an impractical attempt at baseball). But, no matter what the numbers say in the end, likeability has a lot to do one’s branding, endorsements and reputation – and many still hold the 2010 “Decision” against James for leaving his home town Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat.

So if Michael Jordon is the best basketball player to ever grace the hardwood and LeBron James is his closest contender, who would we assume to be in Warren Buffet’s shadows as the next best investor?

Becoming a successful investor takes education, patience and maybe even a little luck – and while there are many investors who differ widely in the strategies and philosophies they apply, Warren Buffet, who is referred to as the "Sage" or "Oracle" of Omaha, continues to be widely viewed as one of the most successful investors in history.

Buffett's investing style of discipline, patience and value has consistently outperformed the market for decades – but a key component to consider is that he began by following the fundamental principles set out by Benjamin Graham (who was born in London in 1894 and who died 1976), in where value investing suggests that any investment should be worth substantially more than an investor has to pay for it – and accomplishing this by investing in companies with strong balance sheets, little debt, above-average profit margins, and ample cash flow. He coined the phrase "margin of safety" to explain his common-sense formula that seeks out undervalued companies whose stock prices are temporarily down, but whose fundamentals, for the long run, are sound.

Ben Graham excelled as an investment manager and financial educator during his time. He authored, among others, two investment classics, "Security Analysis" (1934), written with David Dodd, and "The Intelligent Investor" (1949) which are considered by many investment professionals to be the best books ever written for stock investors. Both of these books have never been out of print and are still used as texts for university-level courses on investing. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking and following along, it seems as if Benjamin is the real Michael Jordan and Warren Buffet came along later in a CAVS jersey.