LeBron James will forever be compared to Michael Jordan. Of all the people who were hyped to be the heir apparent to Jordan, LeBron is the most deserving of that designation. Their successes, on a team and individual level, will always be compared in the argument over who is the better player, and who is arguably the best player of all time. LeBron recently had some thoughts on the legacy (by way of Cleveland.com) of His Airness in a new podcast, and they aren’t what you might expect.
James does say that Jordan — along with Ken Griffey Jr. and Deion Sanders — was one of the athletes he looked up to the most as a child. LeBron also said at his camp earlier in the summer that he feels like he is chasing the “ghost” of Jordan, who notched one more MVP and three more rings than LeBron has right now.
When it comes to those championship rings, though, LeBron suggested that Jordan might actually be getting a little too much credit for them.
“I don’t think MJ ever had a Game 7 in the Finals. And people say ‘Oh, well he was able to close it out early’ and they act like he just did it all on his own. They forget about the shot by Paxson on the left wing.
You want to know the crazy thing? In that particular game in Phoenix, MJ didn’t even have the ball in his hands. Pippen brought the ball up, Barkley went for the steal, Pippen threw it down to Horace Grant and that got the defense (out of place) because Barkley went for the gamble. They rotated to Horace Grant, and Horace Grant threw it to Paxson. MJ didn’t have nothing to do with that play.”
Yes, LeBron said that perhaps too much praise is heaped upon MJ’s shoulders for his six NBA titles. He said Scottie Pippen, and Jordan’s other teammates, were not getting enough credit for what they accomplished.
Obviously, anybody who isn’t lofting praise on Jordan will garner some raised eyebrows. However, LeBron may also have a point. People do often think of those six titles as being Jordan’s alone, as opposed to the Bulls’ rings. Pippen is one of the best players in NBA history in his own right. Some good role players were on those teams, including another fellow Hall-of-Famer, Dennis Rodman.
“Super teams” weren’t considered a thing in Jordan’s era, but if LeBron wants to argue that Jordan’s teammates were more important to Chicago’s six rings than most recognize, he’s in the unique position to actually know what he’s talking about.
To be fair, you’ll want to listen to the whole interview before you respond to this, so you can hear what LeBron thinks in his own words. Until then, you should probably hold off on screaming yourself hoarse about this. Remember, this is sports, it’s not life and death unless you severely overreact.