Lebron James has come under a lot of scrutiny during his career. A lot of it hasn’t been fair, but when you’re drafted number one overall and labeled as The King, that will happen. From day one in his career, he’s been compared to the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan. So when it comes to expectations, no one in NBA history has ever had the bar set higher than LBJ.
But after two consecutive titles, James is reportedly more at ease than ever. A lot of the weight on his shoulders has been lifted. Now for the first time in his career, he’s sounding like he truly wants to be the greatest to ever live. He’s openly stating it and seems to believe that he has a real chance at the title of G.O.A.T. The reality, is that he absolutely has a shot at it. Three years ago, that wasn’t the case at all. But a couple of rings later, things are different.
James recently commented on MJ and thing he admires most about him:
“But I think the greatest thing about MJ was that he never was afraid to fail. And I think that’s why he succeeded so much, because he was never afraid of what anybody ever said about him. Never afraid to miss the game-winning shot, never afraid to turn the ball over. Never afraid. That’s one of my biggest obstacles. I’m afraid of failure. I want to succeed so bad that I become afraid of failing.”
Those comments speak volumes to me. James is openly talking about his biggest fear and that’s no easy task. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid to fail, that’s just human nature. Michael Jordan was one of the few players in history to not let it bother him. Not only that, he thrived on it. The thought of failure essentially motivated him his entire career.
Excluding championship rings, MJ’s drive is the thing that sets him apart from Lebron. They’re just wired differently. I never used to think LBJ would develop the killer instinct that Jordan had, but he’s taken great strides in recent years.
We’ll see how this year unfolds, but if James wins a third straight title, he might have a chance at dethroning MJ after all.