Twelve months ago, everyone was busy writing LeBron James off as a phony, three-quarter player. Now after one championship, it feels like the floodgates are opening. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Ask the greatest ever, Michael Jordan. Before finally getting past Detroit and then winning his first ring in 1991, he was considered (by many) a selfish, self-absorbed player who was a fantastic individual talent, but wasn’t even in the same sentence as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Before the ’91 Playoffs, he was still just 24-29 in postseason games.
Phil Jackson knows both players pretty well, having developed a bond with MJ, and then later coaching against a young LeBron. And he said this on the “Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago last week:
“He’s got all the physical attributes. He is a player that can play four positions. Except for perhaps the center spot, which he hasn’t (been) given a shot at yet, he can play those other four positions quite well. This is unique; Michael could play three and was very good at all three of those, but as a power player that LeBron can become, I think he has an opportunity to explore and advance some of the status that he has already gained.”
“Winning six championships is an elusive thing out there and they haven’t won two yet. But he’s kinda got the smell of it and even the Olympic experience this summer, he was the granted leader of that team and was the critical player when they needed something to happen in the final games. I think he’s there, I think he’s at that position. He’s got good things ahead of him and a lot of it depends upon if he’s gonna be healthy for the remainder of his career.”
I wrote on this possibility when Dwyane Wade tossed around the comparison earlier this summer, so I won’t rehash some of my thoughts. Jackson continued by saying that while Jordan had more moves in the post (I think we can all agree on that, even as LeBron FINALLY started using that weapon in last year’s playoffs), James has a few unbelievable gifts that you can’t teach: an awesome left hand, and his unique fast-breaking forays.
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When Charles Barkley admitted earlier this week that LeBron had a shot, we took the high road. Charles is crazy anyways. But even though the Zen Master lost a couple of screws a long time ago, he does raise some interesting points.
What are the odds ‘Bron equals Jordan’s accomplishments?
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