LeBron James and Michael Jordan are often pitted against each other when it comes to the debate over the greatest player of all time. The two iconic superstars are considered the best to ever play the game, but fans always debate over which player was better, with these debates getting very heated at times.
But between the two players, there is nothing but respect. After breaking Michael Jordan's all-time record for most points in playoff history, LeBron was asked about the significance of Jordan on his career. Jordan spoke in extremely complimentary words about Michael Jordan and his greatness.
LeBron explained that he wears the number 23 because he grew up idolizing Jordan. But Jordan represented a zenith of the NBA so high that it almost seemed insurmountable. So LeBron focused on trying to be great, but different from Jordan. And that is how much of an impact MJ had on his game (0:14 mark).
“First of all, I wear the number because of Mike. I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just seeing what he was able to accomplish. But I feel like Mike was so, when you growing up and you’re seeing Michael Jordan, he’s almost like a god. So I didn’t ever believe I could be Mike. So I started to focus myself on other players and other people around my neighborhood because I never thought you could get to the point that Mike was (at). I think that helped shape my game. The biggest thing for me, sitting here today, after breaking the all time scoring record in playoff history is that, I did it just being me. I don’t have to score the ball to make an impact in a basketball game.”
LeBron clearly adored Michael Jordan and idolized him. And LeBron has not been shy in mentioning that. But some believe that James wants to surpass his idol and be better than him. Kendrick Perkins recently states that James wants to surpass Michael Jordan for NBA championships.
Similarly, Jordan also has respect for LeBron. He met LeBron once before a Cavs-Wizards game and told him exactly what he wanted to see out there. On top of that, he picked LeBron as one of the four players from the 2010s that could have succeeded in his era. While the debate over the two may get heated among fans, James and Jordan have nothing but respect and admiration for each other.