Jackson: James has potential to surpass Jordan
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Phil Jackson has coached two of the greatest basketball players of all-time in Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. So it’s reasonable to call him a bit of an expert when it comes to debating “the greatest.”
Coming off a summer in which he captured his first NBA championship and second Olympic gold medal, LeBron James has continually heard his name associated with Jordan’s as basketball minds love to compare and contrast the game’s current best player with arguably the best player of all-time.
Charles Barkley recently told USA TODAY Sports James is “bigger, faster and stronger.” And let’s not forget Scottie Pippen said last summer James could be the best of all-time…and then backtracked.
Now, we can add Jackson to the list.
The former Bulls and Lakers coach and 11-time NBA champion recently compared James to Jordan.
In a recent interview on the “Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Jackson said James’ multidimensional skillset and ability to play four different positions could eventually help him trump Jordan.
“He’s got all the physical attributes,” Jackson said. “I think we all question the prepping that went into LeBron. His defense was shaky when he was a younger player and finding his way through that direction. He is a player that can play four positions. Except for perhaps the center spot, which he hasn’t given a shot at yet, he can play those other four positions quite well. This is unique; Michael could play three and was very good at all three of those. But as a power player that LeBron can become, I think he has an opportunity to explore and advance some of the status that he has already gained.
Jackson pointed out that each player had their strengths.
“I have a hard time judging that best player, but I do think that Michael had more moves in the post and he had more of a, perhaps, shooting touch with his back to the basket and all these kind of things that were part of his game. LeBron has this train out of control … [For more on Phil Jackson thinks LeBron has potential to surpass MJ, click here.]