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Charles Oakley doesn’t think LeBron James is Michael Jordan

Oct 19, 2011, 8:14 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game Five Getty Images

Is there anyone who thinks that LeBron James is Michael Jordan? Well, besides Scottie Pippen?

Charles Oakley doesn’t think so. Of course he didn’t.

The MJ contemporary and recent Bobcats assistant coach wanted to make it clear in an interview with Hoopsworld that the two are not in the same class. (Hat tip to Eye on Basketball)

“I wouldn’t put them in the same conversation.

“It took a while for Michael to win championships too, but they have a different swagger, a different demeanor. If I would compare anybody to Michael Jordan, it would be Kobe Bryant. Point blank. I know LeBron well; he don’t have what Michael have so I’m not even gonna discuss that one.

“To be a superstar (LeBron) has to go back to his fundamentals… work on his post game, work off the ball.”

It’s hard to compare mid-career LeBron to Jordan’s full-career legacy, we can’t say how we will look back on LeBron when he retires. But there was a universal love — or at least respect — that Jordan had and LeBron has lost. You can define that as swagger or whatever you wish, it remains a reality. One that will stick with LeBron.

  1. premiumpit - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    No one is Michael Jordon…Especially not lebron James…

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    With the way the game is all about the money today, there will never be another Michael Jordan. Let’s not forget that Jordan was making peanuts(less than $4 million a year) until the 5th and 6th championship years, where he made $30+ million. Nowadays, a guy makes 8 figures and his head explodes.

    Kobe and Tim Duncan are the only two guys of the last 15 years who play hard every single night. Kobe has 5 titles and The Big Fundamental has 4. Everybody else, from Wade to LeBron to Garnett to Pierce…those guys take nights off. Even Kobe and Duncan have had their share of off-nights.

    Jordan never had an off-night in the playoffs. Period. An off-night for Jordan in the playoffs would be something like 20 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. The guy was a machine.

    • louxi - Oct 19, 2011 at 9:45 PM

      completely agree with you. People can easily forget mj did not get this enormous money they offer today for starters, not until like you said, LBJ was offered a 100million before a single game in the NBA! I love the nba, ill always will and i hope for a great season even though its cloudy for that right now, as for mj..LBJ, he is not even better than KOBE. He better grow up first, i know he has the potential he is great & i wih he would carry the NBA like mj did and kobe does now.

  3. khandor - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Unfortunately, there are multiple fundamental aspects of team play and the acceptance of one’s proper role within a specific group of men that Michael Jordan learned from Dean Smith’s North Carolina program which LeBron James did not experience when he jumped directly from the high school/AAU ranks to the NBA and/or during his initial years working under Mike Brown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Until James is able to successfully absorb these fundamental tenets of authentic team play, he … and the team for which he toils … is destined to come up short when facing an opponent that already incorporates these same values in their current style of form and function. Hopefully, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, etc., can teach him how to become a true champion, and he is prepared to learn from them.

    • blueintown - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:42 PM

      Michael Jordan is the absolute antithesis of those fundamentals that Dean Smith taught at UNC. He didn’t win until eight years into his career because of that. Phil Jackson’s guiding hand and Tex Winters system forced him to adapt, and then become a champion.

      • khandor - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM

        The array of legitimate reasons at the heart of why Michael Jordan did not win an NBA championship during his first 7 seasons NBA had nothing to do with him being the antithesis of the tenets taught by Dean Smith. In fact, it was quite the contrary. i.e. the lessons taught by Dean Smith were a significant part of why someone like Mr. Jordan was eventually able to adapt successfully to the type of coaching he was fortunate to finally receive from Phil Jackson after the latter was selected by the Bulls to replace Doug Collins and Jerry Krause was able to upgrade the rest of Chicago’s roster around its best player.

  4. 40thstreetblack - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Jordan was drafted in 1984 and won his first title in 1991, that’s seven years not eight. Jordan may be alot of things to different people, but no one every questioned his heart as is the case with “King James.”

    • blueintown - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      Thanks for clearing that up, Captain Exacto. And, yes, people did question Jordan’s heart. They questioned it for eight–Oh, oh, sorry! Seven!!–years when all he did was post gaudy numbers while showing no interest in anything resembling a team concept.

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