Jordan: I Wouldn't Have Made Same Decision As LeBron
In a column published the day after LeBron James chose to "take his talents to South Beach," ESPN writer Bill Simmons explained how Michael Jordan never would have made the same decision as LeBron, how he would have preferred to beat his competitors rather than join them.
Turns out Simmons was right.
In an interview conducted Sunday, Jordan reiterated that sentiment nearly word for word:
"There's no way, in hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry (Bird), called up Magic (Johnson) and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said. "In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
Jordan admitted the culture of the NBA is different now than it was during his prime and said he "can't say [LeBron's decision] is a bad thing." But the inference was clear: LeBron is taking the easy road to a championship (if he wins one), Jordan took the hard road. The six titles he won weren't the result of him acquiescing to another player. They were hard fought titles he earned with his teammates on the team that drafted him.
Whether LeBron perceives the statement as a slap in the face or not remains to be seen, but I can't imagine he's happy to hear Jordan say what he did.
Nor do I imagine he's thrilled to hear what TNT analyst, and NBA Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley said about him last week.
Barkley told a Miami radio station that LeBron "will never be Jordan" and that his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh "clearly takes him out of the [Jordan] conversation" because the Heat are, and will always be, "Wade's team."
There's a lot of truth to what Barkley said. Jordan played with Scottie Pippen in Chicago, but he was clearly the top dog during all six of the Bulls' championship runs. LeBron certainly won't be able to say the same about his situation in Miami.
At the same time, I think it's hypocritical for someone who never won a championship to fault another player for putting himself in a situation to win one. Jordan can talk all he wants. He won six rings. But Barkley's situation is different. Having never won an NBA title, I think he needs to lay off.
LeBron may not be in a position to surpass Jordan's legacy, but he's certainly able to top Barkley's.
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