After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title, LeBron James said this summer that he's chasing Michael Jordan's ghost in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. At Monday's media day, James elaborated on that quote, telling the Associated Press' Tom Withers that he's always been chasing Jordan, even if he hasn't talked about it publicly:
"It's a personal goal," James told The Associated Press on Monday. "I just never brought it up. It's my own personal goal to be able to be greater than great. I think that should be everybody's personal goal."
"If you work for any company or you work for any designer or anywhere, you're like, 'Oh, I aspire to be that guy because he's done it right.' He's the greatest and that's who you look at," he said. "So that's always been my personal goal, to use the motivation he gave me as a kid and I'll use it as motivation now as well that I want to get to where he is. That's never changed. People kind of wanted to turn it into a conversation, but that's my personal goal and that's where I land at."
It's funny that James' original quote was considered controversial. People have been saying that James has the potential to be the greatest player ever dating back to when he was a high school student. The NBA has never seen someone who combines his athleticism, strength, size and basketball IQ. If anyone should be aiming to be the best to ever play, it's him. In fact, it's a little strange that James waited this long to acknowledge that being better than Jordan is his goal.
In 2013, James became the only player other than Jordan to register four seasons with a PER over 30. James' 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Miami Heat, where he had true shooting percentages of 64 and 64.9 percent, were more efficient than any season in Jordan's career. James has half of Jordan's six championships, but there is an argument that, due to his ability to guard all five positions, he is already the best player of all-time.
Of course, James will never make that argument, and he is focused on putting more titles on his resume. "I'm just as hungry as I was before [last year's championship]," he told the AP, and if his extraordinary performance in the Cavs' NBA Finals comeback was any indication, then the 31-year-old is not about to slow down. James' place in history matters to him, and he knows he's capable of accomplishing even more.