Throughout his career, LeBron James has been constantly compared to Michael Jordan. Now, the three-time NBA champion wants to put those comparisons to rest.
For nearly every player in the league, Michael Jordan has become that ghost to chase. Players want to idolize him in their pursuit of his greatness. And no player has emulated Michael Jordan’s performance or has been compared to him more than LeBron James.
Even before James entered the league, he was considered ahead of his time. And him choosing the No. 23 established those Jordan comparisons. His superb performance throughout his career has cemented his dominance in the league.
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But there has always been Jordan’s shadow clouding his accomplishments. James even said so himself in an interview with Sports Illustrated after ending the 52-year championship drought in Cleveland:
“My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago”.
That quote implied a fact that has been known throughout LeBron James’ career–he still wants to be like Michael Jordan.
But a recent quote by the three-time champion implies that he doesn’t want to be compared to the basketball legend at all. In response to whether he studies how Jordan adapted his style of play over the years, James said:
“No, I haven’t,” James told reporters, “because our games are so different. He was much more of a scorer. And at that point, did a lot of post work at that point in time. But our games are just different. His body is different. My body is different than his. So it’s just, you recognize the dominance that someone had at that age. At that age, you recognize the dominance. But there’s no similarities in our game at all.”
So, although James has mentioned in the past that his motivation is based on Jordan’s success, he does not believe that he should be compared to him. And James is right about that.
It is difficult to compare a player with the physique of a forward to one who has been the greatest example of a shooting guard. LeBron James will never reach a Finals record of 6-0 like Jordan did. But his 3-4 record is representative of a career in which James has showcased his dominance.
And even in those four Finals losses, his dominance in the game was displayed even more. In the 2015 Finals loss to the Warriors, James became the first player in NBA Finals history to lead both teams in points, assists and rebounds for the entire series.
And it is James’ dominance that makes the Jordan comparison viable. Like Michael Jordan, LeBron James has been able to maintain his greatness in the league throughout his entire career.
James, who just turned 32 on Friday, is playing at an impeccable level that has proven he has not aged a bit. And at that level, it is certain that the Jordan comparisons will continue.