Weather Updates

LeBron James is no Michael Jordan, and vice versa

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 10, 2013 10:24AM

MIAMI – Michael Jordan was never a decoy.

Maybe in his final days with Washington when he was bloated and sleepy looking, but not in his prime, and never under the bright lights of the NBA Finals.

So once and for all, can we please stop the Jordan-LeBron James comparisons that have gone on way too long?

Miami’s 103-84 laugher in Sunday night’s Game 2 against the Spurs was the final piece of hard evidence that those comparisons should have ended before they even began years ago. But no. We have to put everything in a box. We have to compartmentalize in order to explain something we have never seen before. It fuels the talk-show banter, makes the barbershop chatter interesting.

James is not Jordan. Never has been. It’s disrespectful to Jordan’s legacy and it’s unfair to the legacy that James is building.

James has earned the right to be in his own category. Like Larry Bird, like Magic Johnson, and of course like Jordan.

At times, James resembles the best all-around basketball player to ever put a uniform on. A titan with inked up arms and baggy shorts, doing things at 6-foot-8, 260-plus pounds that no other player before him could do.

Other times, he’s an enigma, tearing off his Cleveland jersey in disgust or simply a no-show for three quarters like he was in what was a must-win Game 2 for the Heat that now sends the best-of-seven series to San Antonio.

In what was the biggest game of the season for Miami, James had two points after the first quarter. Late in the second, they tried to put him on Tony Parker, and after the Spurs guard scored twice on him, pulled him off. In the third, Danny Green went around James for a lay-up, with the four-time MVP looking disinterested.

Even James admitted that he was searching for some way to make an impact.

“Honestly for me, when I was struggling offensively, my teammates continued to keep it in range,’’ James said.

In the first quarter it was Chris Bosh. The second, Dwyane Wade. The third – Mario Chalmers. I repeat, Mario Chalmers. The same Mario Chalmers who finished with a game-high 19 points, and admittedly wasn’t going to wait for James to flip the switch.

“That’s the thing, nobody waited,’’ Chalmers said. “We know LeBron. He’s the best player. He’s going to get his at any given moment.’’

That moment finally came, but it was Spurs big man Tiago Splitter who got his. A James block of a Splitter attempted dunk for the ages. After the return-to-sender, James seemed to wake up, scoring nine of his 17 points in the final quarter.

But it was as bizarre a showing as an NBA all-time great could have.

“I don’t really read into it of what people want more of me,’’ James said. “Whatever conclusion you want.’’

No, James is no Michael Jordan. Then again, Jordan was no James.

And there’s nothing wrong with either.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.