Michael Jordan is approaching the golden age of 50 this weekend, and in the days leading up to his birthday excerpts from an interview set to air on NBA TV Monday have been trickling out little by little.
First, Jordan claimed that he would take Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant over the Miami Heat‘s LeBron James because, and I quote “five (rings) is better than one.” Later, Jordan hinted that James doesn’t possess the right mentality to have made it in the 80’s/90’s era of the NBA, but Kobe, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki did.
Finally in an article from ESPN’s Wright Thompson that was referenced by the Business Insider, Jordan revealed how he would have stopped LeBron if they ever were to square off on the court:
“It has to do with his mechanics and how he loads the ball for release. ‘So if I have to guard him,’ Jordan says, ‘I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10, he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.’
“For the rest of the game, when LeBron gets the ball and starts his move, Jordan will call out some variation of ‘drive’ or ‘shoot.’ … He’s answering texts, buried in his phone, when the play-by-play guy announces a LeBron jump shot. Without looking up, Jordan says, ‘Left?'”
The Business Insider article also includes LeBron’s shot chart on the season and low and behold, Jordan was accurate. And even though James is in one of the hottest NBA streaks in recent history, instead of taking Jordan’s comments and criticism as negative James should use them as motivation.
James is in the prime of his NBA career and the player that many consider the best in history is offering some valid points that could help LeBron truly become the best ever. LeBron at 6’8″, 260 lbs and freak athleticism clearly has the physical tools to dominate any player in the league and he has shown in the past season and some change that he has matured from the mental toughness he was knocked for lacking early in his career. What LeBron now needs to do is put it all together for another two-three seasons and put all doubters to rest.
All of the greats have had knocks on their career along the way; Jordan was called just a stat stuffer that couldn’t get past the East’s elite until 1990. They said Kobe Bryant couldn’t win a championship without Shaquille O’neal. LeBron, still only 28, has all the time in the world it seems to further cement his resume. And there should be little doubt that he will.