After LeBron James led the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors, he entered a whole new level of conversation among the game's greatest of all time. In the final three games vs. the Warriors, James averaged 36 points, 12 rebounds, 9.7 assists, three steals and three blocks per game, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 42 percent from deep. It was the greatest individual performance in the history of the NBA Finals.

As a result, and after his third NBA championship, James really entered the conversation for the greatest of all-time, for the first time. Most people still believe that Michael Jordan remains, and will forever be the GOAT, but after James' performance, under those circumstances, along with his four MVPs and all the other accolades, it's no longer possible to exclude him from the conversation. He's earned that much.

However, one of his former teammates think that though he's in range to be "right there" with MJ eventually, he'll never surpass His Airness. Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade told ESPN that it's "not possible" for James to surpass Jordan's greatness.

"No, it's not possible," Wade told ESPN with a laugh. "It's not possible."

"The only thing you can do is tie it," Wade said. "There's no 19th hole."

"I think last year -- not only in my eyes, but in a lot of people's eyes -- really put him ... he's on the 15th hole right now," Wade said of James. "And he's on his way, for sure."

"You can't go past it," Wade said of Jordan's legacy. "How can you? That's as great as it gets, man. The only thing you can do, like I said, is be A-1, A-B. There's no way higher."

Source: Dwyane Wade says best LeBron James can do is tie Michael Jordan's legacy.

Wade is from Chicago, so that's going to influence some things. But he also stands as a great of the game himself, and he knows what Jordan's legacy is. James has made more Finals than Jordan, but Jordan went 6-0 while James has gone 3-4. The context is different for James, James has lost to Tim Duncan (twice), Dirk Nowitzki, and Stephen Curry. But the result is the same.

LeBron James at media day 2016
LeBron James is now chasing only Jordan for all-time greatness. USATSI

More than that, though, is the issue of Jordan having come first. Jordan set the bar, and that lasts. Jordan also fundamentally changed the way we see athletes. He was the first player to have his own shoe, the first to really traverse the lines of sports and culture. It's difficult to surpass the first to set the bar in any field. That's mostly what Wade's referring to. The idea of Jordan is what James is competing with, not just the rings and numbers.

Realistically, James would have to win four more titles to pass Jordan. He has to at least finish with seven, or most won't even be open to the discussion. That Jordan never faced a team like the Spurs or Warriors doesn't matter. (Jordan faced some good, even great teams, but not two all-timers.) James can't match what Jordan did, because of the way Jordan did it. James has to go further.

There's also a perception gap, in that when you watched Jordan, after 1991, you always felt he was going to win. You never really believed he would lose after the Bulls finally toppled their rivals, the Pistons, for that first title. You can't have that same feeling with James, because, well, he's lost. To Nowitzki and the Mavericks, to the onslaught of the 2014 Spurs, to the Warriors when his two best teammates were out injured. He's vulnerable, and even though Jordan was only a year younger when he won his third title, it seems less likely that James will be competing for titles into his mid-30's the way Jordan did.

But then, the idea that that's a disappointment is insane. James has a legitimate argument, right now, that he's the second-best player of all-time. That's an incredible status to reach. That has to be enough, because Wade's right. James has said he's chasing the "ghost" of Jordan. The problem with ghosts, though ... you can't touch them to catch them.