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Wade says LeBron playing on Jordan’s level, but not near legacy. Yet.

Aug 17, 2012, 11:17 AM EDT

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James AP

It is the bar set for LeBron James — Michael Jordan set it.

LeBron’s game is really more Magic Johnson — an oversized ball handler on the perimeter with great vision who breaks the mold of what we expect. But Jordan with his six rings and massive collection of hardware — not to mention the iconic status and ownership of the basketball shoe market to this day — is the measuring stick.

Dwyane Wade, speaking before his adult basketball camp with Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel, compared LeBron to Jordan.

“He’s on that level,” Wade said, “but he has a lot more to do to get there. I think he understands he has an unbelievable opportunity to be one of the greatest to play this game. But that’s when he gets done playing, he can say that.

“Right now, he has so much more to cover in his career. He’s just getting started at the same time when Michael kind of just got started. We’ll see how it all shakes out. I hope it shakes out the same way. I’ll be a very happy man.”

Yes, get anywhere near that legacy and Wade will be quite happy.

LeBron’s last season in the NBA — NBA MVP, NBA title, NBA finals MVP — followed by a gold medal in the Olympics was Jordan like.

But the problem with comparing legacies with Jordan is not just the hardware — LeBron needs a handful more rings — it’s the iconic status. Jordan gambled off the court, Jordan left the game for a couple years to play baseball, Jordan was at times a brutal teammate and it’s all sort of romanticized. It’s all seen as an outgrowth of just who he was.

In today’s media and Internet age no player will be able to maintain that kind of legacy. LeBron certainly made mistakes with “the decision” but in this age they will never be glossed over as Jordan’s were. That is neither right nor wrong, it just is. It’s a fact of the changing times that LeBron can’t control.

What he can control is what he does on the court, and there he seems to be playing like a man with his burden lifted. And that could be bad news for the rest of the league. And it could bring him Jordan’s legacy.

As for what he is doing right now, from Wade to Team USA coaches they are calling it Jordanesque.

  1. philtration - Aug 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    The only thing left for LeBron to do to complete Kurt’s man love would be for him to drop his shorts during a game so Kurt can get a peak at Ringo’s nose.

    Gush… gush… gush…. gush……
    Does it ever stop?

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      If hearing nice things about LeBron James causes you emotional distress, how about you try avoiding articles titled, “Wade says LeBron playing on Jordan’s level”?

      You clearly don’t want to hear complimentary things about LeBron, which is fine.

      However, you clicked to read an article that very clearly was going to praise LeBron, giving Kurt page views for articles about LeBron, which in turn encourages him to write MORE about LeBron.

    • dls612 - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Not worth the thumbs down!

      • dls612 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        Wow! For the few that knew where I was going with that comment!.u got comon sense!

  2. elComandanteenJefe - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Let’s be repetitive on this subject for once , LeBron James is NOT Michael Jordan and will NEVER be Michael Jordan. Different era, different players, and a different NBA. For as much as Michael is Michael, Magic is Magic, Bird is Bird, and the list goes on. LeBron James is LeBron James, period.

    Now, if we are talking about being the GREATEST EVER with respect to rings, there is only one person who trumps them all; Bill Russell. For me, Michael Jordan is the greatest ever because that it what I grew up watching, but again, that is my opinion. It’s up to LeBron James to be LeBron James.

    • dls612 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      As a heat fan I absolutely agree! Can’t wait to see who Will be compare to LeBron. I never like that comparison game.

      • loungefly74 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Jabari Parker…will be the guy compared to Lebron…

        also…i have no problem with teammates giving kudos to one another. its what they should do…and right now, the heat deserve all the kudos in the world. (Laker fan by the way)

    • borderline1988 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      Bill Russell had 11 rings, but the majority of them came when there were 9 or less teams in the NBA.

      – Just like how the Toronto Maple Leafs have won the second most championships in NHL history (13), except not a single one of them came when there were more than 6 teams in the league (their last championship was 1967, the year before the expansion beyond the Original Six).

      – Just like how Roger Federer holds the most majors in history, except he won practically all of them at a time when there was a weird lull in tennis talent (agassi and sampras were just retiring, and was before Djokovic and Nadal came around). In comparison, the mid-1990s had a remarkable number of strong players, which makes Sampras’ accomplishments all the more impressive

      But I guess it just proves your point even more…it’s impossible to compare players across different eras. Who can definitively say that Federer would have beaten Sampras up front? Ultimately, all we have are numerical records.

      • 1historian - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        All your points are good ones, but – it’s fun to argue

  3. eventhorizon04 - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    For what it’s worth, I think of LeBron’s game (when he’s playing where he *should* be) as more like Larry Bird’s than Magic’s.

    In the playoffs, especially after Chris Bosh went down to injury, LeBron took up residence in the low post, and he proceeded average 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists for his entire playoff run, simply unreal numbers that have never been matched over an entire playoff run. Those numbers are closer to what we’ve seen with dominant centers than small forwards.

    LeBron was a rebounding and scoring machine in the low-post, passing whenever doubled to open perimeter shooters, but otherwise being aggressive in trying to score.

    If you look at Larry Bird’s career numbers, you see that he averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists. Eerily similar to LeBron this post-season run, right?

    People have been saying this for years – LeBron trying to play like Jordan (as a wing) instead of like Bird (in the low post) has hampered his game for years.

    LeBron is a more athletic Larry Bird who is a better defender due to his athleticism. He’s still a worse shooter than Bird, but if you watch Larry Bird interviews when he talks about LeBron, he talks about how much he respects LeBron’s game, and there’s a reason for that – he’s this generation’s Larry Bird, not Jordan.

  4. miamatt - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    And miles to go before I sleep…. and miles to go before I sleep.

    LBJ is on a different planet right now, but the next decade will define his legacy.

  5. isujames - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Disagree and trust me I am a big fan of Lebron, Air Jordan took over games and stuck daggers in hearts with a good jump shot to accomodate his ability to take the ball to the hole.Jordan also lived for the opportunity to take the big shot and never ever did he not want to shoulder any load at anytime.

  6. alildusty - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Lebron’s legacy will be determined in the next 3 years.
    Will he be a Legend that met his true potential or just another great player that never met his potential?

    He has:
    1 Championship Ring
    3 MVP
    1 Finals MVP
    1 Scoring title
    Rookie of the year
    2 Olympic Gold Medals
    1 Olympic LeBronze Medal
    He also has a bunch of One of Two, One of Three, One of XYZ players to do ABC.

    I’d say he’s missing a few more Rings, MVP awards, Scoring titles and a defensive player of the year.
    He’s around oscar and magic level but those guys aren’t mentioned in the same tone as Jordan or Russel.

  7. paulhargis53 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Nobody cares if you’re a laker fan.
    Besides, your inane postings will prove that out without you having to say it.

    James is the best player in the game right now, if he can sustain it, he may go down as top 10.
    Wilt is the best ever, right along with Russell. You can’t judge individual talent by rings in a team game. There are many great players in all team sports who never won a ring, that doesn’t make them any less great.
    Trent Dilfer has a ring,Marino doesn’t. Is Dilfer the better QB?

    • retief1954 - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      … and I’d take Fouts over either of those guys.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      no…it doesn’t make dilfer better…but it does give him some cred.

      oh…were you referring to me? inane postings? i referenced that because it was in response to a Heat fan’s post. I…unlike you, can give props to other teams/player.

      as always…stay classy PH53.

  8. diablito0402 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Goat is not bill rusell, he played when average player was 6’3 nope, aint buying, jordan played in an era with hand checking and a lot of quality 7 footers and power fowards, right now its a guard league, no good big men, except howard and bynum, and they suck compared to ( ewing robinson olajuwon mchale barkley malone and the list goes on ..)

  9. diablito0402 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    I agree lbj is the best player in the league NOW, and just leave it at that.. Its a weak era and its lbjs era and thats it!!! No more than that..

  10. jmart760 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I have always defended Lebron, even when everyone was piling on, I was in his corner. I am loving all the positivity coming his way now and I hope people realize how wrong they were about him. I heard many say that he would never win a title. Oh really? I think history is going to show Lebron’s greatness. Right now people are still bitter about the Decision, but refuse to acknowledge that it did give millions of dollars to the Boys and Girls Club. I pray that my biggest mistake helps that many people. He also grew up without a father and now he is, by all accounts, a great dad to his kids. He gives time and money to charities and consistently tries to put positivity out there. Not only that, but he is the greatest player on the planet right now. For all of you that hate hearing positive things about Lebron, this is only the beginning. It’s going to get much worse. I’m not saying that Lebron hasn’t made mistakes in his life because he most certainly has, but I think if you really look at who he is and what he’s done, you’ll see a great role model and the greatest basketball player on the planet right now.

    • guyaneserj - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      gr8 post jmart760… Couldn’t have said it better my damn self… Nothing wrong with disliking the opposition, cause quite frankly, there playing against ur team.. but da way LBJ has been vilified? I mean REALLY? Ppl have had an easier time for mass murder; rape and da list goes on…

  11. drew092 - Aug 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Their will never truly be a greatest player of all time in basketball because things have changed so much over the past few decades with rule changes and how the game is played. Honestly the only thing that can’t be argued is that these players that everyone tries to stack in an order of greatness are truly and undeniably great.

  12. jamesbmckay - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Wade is delusional. LBJ is a great player, but he is not close to what MJ brought to the court EVERY night. Go Cs…

  13. cantonbound13 - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    The guy wins 1 lousy ring & they start comparing him to MJ? He’s so overhyped it’s ridiculous.

    • truthhurtstoo - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      Loss stills stings we see… long live King James!

    • bucsnsincity - Aug 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      One lousy ring huh ask Barkley or Stockton and Malone what they would do to win one lousy ring

      • cantonbound13 - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        They didn’t try to team up with 2 of the top 10 players in the league to chase a ring while in their prime.

  14. jimmymarlinsfan - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Weak era? Like Lebron gets to pick who he plays against or how old he is?

    Jesus Christ some of you people have zero clue about basketball and should have their Internet connections taken away

    For better or for worse its a different game played by people who are full time, best in the world athletes. Russell played in an era where a lot of guys had off season jobs. There was more scoring overall in the 80’s. More defense in he 90’s. But it’s time for the haters to face facts, in a league full of tremendous athletes that pull off incredible feats of nature in a nightly basis, Lebron is better than them ALL. What’s worse is some of you knuckleheads know it too and just espouse nonsense for attention

    • guyaneserj - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      So on point jimmymarlinsfan.. Some of these folks really need 2 get their head out of their a**es and appreciate what they have in front of them.. Da funny thing is.. I defy ANYONE of them to tell me, that they wouldn’t do anything humanely possible to have LBJ on their team?

  15. laserw - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    LeBrick and Michael in the same sentence?

    Good grief. LeBrick was not the reason the Heat won this year – he was another after thought. It is obvious that Wade is the man on that team and LeBrick is a pretender – a man who can only make a basket by showboating – he can’t play regular basketball.

    When LeBrick can takeover a game from start to finish with the flu and win and put the team on his back, let’s revisit this. We haven’t even seen him do this when he is not playing with the flu.

    • cramsinned - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Are you dumb? are you in coma when the heat played last post season? stupid statement. Just watch the previous post season before you post a comment

  16. ebrownwareagle - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Lebron is a Hell of a player! But his career legacy is not even on the same level of Kobe’s yet. So everyone simmer down with the Jordan comparison. Let’s see if he can surpass that of one of his present day colleagues, before we induct him into the hall and compare him to MJ!

  17. retief1954 - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    How the hell would Wade know? He never played against Jordan, never experienced what it was like to go up against him. He don’t KNOW. So he should keep quiet.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Aug 20, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      Wade grew up in Chicago and his 96 finals appearance was better than ANY of Jordan’s. I’d say he is just about as qualified as anyone else is

  18. lakerluver - Aug 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    LBJ is a phenomenal player. Probably a top 5-10 player ever right now. But he will never replace MJ. MJ never lost a Finals, never shrunk in the Finals like LBJ did, was 6-0 in the Finals, with 6 Finals MVP’s. Unless LBJ wins 7 or 8 titles I don’t think it’s even a discussion.

  19. buffalowned - Aug 17, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    for those saying he will never be on MJ’s level….MJ brought 30 a game every night and outstanding defense….lebron brings 27 a game more rebounds assists and the ability to dominate and defend 5 positions..he didn’t have a single bad game in the playoffs and that’s the reason the heat are the champions and erik spoelstra still has a job.. wade is a future hall of famer himself i think it’s safe to say he knows a bit more about basketball than any of you

  20. cholos909 - Aug 17, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    lbj is a great player but when did he pass kobe up and get on to jordans level already??? where was i when he became better that kobe? kobe has waaaaay more hardware and actually played against jordan.. and takes games over still to this date …. just sayin ppl automatically jump to jordans level lets give it some time he was suppose to b this good out of high skool or did we all forget this?

  21. lsd29787 - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Mike never lost in the finals went 2 6! 6 finals MVP! LeBron has some work to do. I’d say he need 6 more and 6 mvp’s to get there! I root against him every time he plays!

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Aug 20, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      So are you can give a totally unbiased opinion right?

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