LeBron reminds everyone he’s ‘not MJ’
by Chris Strauss, USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday night in Miami, LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to score 30 points and shoot over 60 percent in six straight games as the Heat beat the Portland Trail Blazers 117-104. At 28 years old, James has evolved into the player he was forecasted to be coming out of high school, continuing to improve his game even after winning his first NBA championship last summer.
No matter how much of his own history James creates, he’s never going to escape the comparisons to Michael Jordan, associations that started back when he was prep player in Akron. The front page of ESPN.com currently has a side-by-side feature equating the two, while Sportscenter has been rehashing a series of Jordan legacy pieces in advance of his 50th birthday this Sunday.
So it’s understandable that James feels the need to do what he can to step outside of that shadow, especially after he likely woke up this morning and saw Jordan getting more airtime on the so-called Worldwide Leader than him. Hence the following tweet.
“I’m not MJ, I’m LJ”
James and his advisers are as calculated as any modern marketers, so it’s no coincidence that this salvo was sent the morning after a performance where James accomplished something Jordan never did, but also during a week when he’s likely to be once again cast as one of Jordan’s heirs than as his own individual phenomenon.
“I’m at a loss for words,” James said after Tuesday’s game. “Like I say over and over, I know the history of the game. I know how many unbelievable players who came through the ranks, who paved the way for me and my teammates. And for me to be in the record books by myself with such a stat — any stat — it’s big-time.”