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LeBron calls his title-clinching jumper his “Michael Jordan moment”

Jun 26, 2013, 10:49 AM EST

You remember the play: There were :39 seconds left in Game 7, Miami was up 90-88 and of course LeBron James had the ball out at mid-court. He let the clock run down then drove right around a Mario Chalmers pick, bullied past Tony Parker who switched on to him, pulled up at the elbow extended before Kawhi Leonard could recover and sank a 19-foot jumper that essentially sealed the Heat’s win.

LeBron has said during the Finals he had watched a lot of old Michael Jordan NBA Finals games, including the 1998 push off of Byron Russell and subsequent jumper.

LeBron talked to Lee Jenkins Sports Illustrated about his shot (you need to buy the magazine to read the entire article).

“I know it wasn’t the magnitude of MJ hitting that shot in ’98, but I definitely thought about him,” James said. “It was an MJ moment.” He paused as a turn of phrase came to mind. “It was an LJ moment.”

Fair or not — and partially invited by himself because LeBron has said more than once he wants to be remembered as the greatest player ever — LeBron lives in Jordan’s huge shadow. Just check out the comments on this site or other blogs — talk about LeBron’s accomplishment of winning back-to-back MVPs, championships and Finals MVPs (something only done before by Jordan and Bill Russell) and the comment section devolves into a discussion of how LeBron isn’t Jordan.

He’s not.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his moments, too.

LeBron correctly notes his shot isn’t as dramatic as Jordan’s, but it is dramatic — it’s a shot that sealed an NBA title.

At age 29 Jordan was 2-0 in Finals, LeBron will be 2-2 in Finals when he hits that age next season. I will again say what I’ve said about LeBron since his decision to go to Miami: We don’t know what his legacy will be. We don’t know what we’re going to say about him, what players he will have earned to be discussed with, when he hangs it up.

It’s a product of our instant media age — more than any player in history we define and re-define LeBron’s legacy from year to year, almost game to game. It’s the way things go, but it’s a barstool discussion. We just don’t know what his legacy will be.

But LeBron will have his moments. And we should let him have them.

  1. rabbdogg - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    mean while..kobe was 5-2 in the finals…and a far better players than LeBrick james..

    • liamj55 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Remember when Kobe was shot 6-24 in the game 7 of the NBA finals? Na I guess……….

      • loungefly74 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Remember when Kobe had 15 rebounds total and 10 points in the 4th quarter AND a WIN in that same game you just mentioned? Na i guess….

      • anjohn39 - Jul 3, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        You say what you want but other teams have never dared Kobe to shoot OPEN Jumpers and OPEN 3 point Practice shots ..They stood 6 feet away and it took james until game 7 to make them pay . As a mater of fact i cant remember the worlds best player being allowed to shoot open shots

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      KOBE has no consideration as GOAT.

      SHAQ was the most dominan player in league for KOBE first 3 rings.

      KOBE led the other two, tho.

      FYI .. KOBE has had best 3 big men in the NBA over last 15 years…

      1st SHAQ, then PAU, then Dwight … spoiled

      LeBron dragged the worst NBA team to ever play in finals in 2007 with Cleveland, KOBE would have mailed in the season and demand a trade.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        Good point, also if you win the title and your the best player in the league, let alone your team you should have the Finals MVP …. Kobe has 2 of those, for the 2 he won. not the other 3 shaq won

      • badintent - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        Hell yeah. The Cavs would have lost to Duke that year without LBJ.

      • jgillmeister - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        No, the worst finals team ever was the 2002-03 New Jersey Nets

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      How many Finals MVPs has Kobe won? Oh… just two? Same amount as LeBron? Fewer than Duncan? Only four less than MJ?

    • gmsingh123 - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      Wait, MJ never had to play a game 7, so Lebron’s “moment” is comparable how, exactly? This is more of the “little engine that could” bs. If you want to compare yourself to the greatest b ball player ever, do something that is comparable.

  2. bucrightoff - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    LeBron can’t complain about the hate he gets when he makes comments like this. Michael Jordan would never, EVER be given an entire game of wide open looks which is what the Spurs did to LeBron. That was LeBron’s John Paxson or Steve Kerr moment, not his MJ moment. Nice try though.

  3. watermelon1 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    His shot was nowhere near as dramatic as gonobli acting out the script the NBA have him to follow. You can’t turn the ball over that many times in the clutch. NBA needs their storyline of “can he three-peat” to keep attention until next years playoffs.

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      Please, get over the “NBA conspiracy” garbage. It makes you sound like a whining child.

  4. jbeagles23 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Kobe played second filddle to shaq while shaq was there. He’s no longer in the comvo for goat.

    • zeedoubleyou - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Don’t forget that the Lakers missed the playoffs after Shaq left with supporting casts similar to those LeBron had in Cleveland.

    • aboogy123456 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      it’s idiots like you that make kobe the most underrated player ever. Kobe played second fiddle to shaq? Kobe was a little kid back then! He wasn’t the player we are calling the greatest of all time. ANYBODY would have been playing second fiddle to shaq in his prime, when they are only 20 years old, lebron included. Lebron was playing with Dwyane wade and bosh in his prime. Kobe spent most of his prime playing with smush parker, chris mihm, brian cook, etc…your argument makes no sense at all, understanding basketball is obviously beyond you.

  5. fotydaze - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Great players are lauded for their great moments, they don’t point them out themselves. MJ transcended culture, he impacted the world, he is an icon. Lebron is a better version of Scottie Pippen. I’m sure MJ didn’t say”that was my Dr. J moment”, when he made a great play. The only great play I saw this championship was by Ray Allen

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Oh, I didn’t realize that press conferences are what make athletes great. Silly me, I thought it had something to do with the plays they make on the parquet.

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    The only reason LBJ’s shot was less dramatic is because Jeff Van Gundy can’t call a game like Bob Costas.

    “That may have been the last shot Michael Jordan will ever take… in the NBA.”

  7. realninerfan22 - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Haha this guy thinks he’s mj hahaha… What a joke. No d wade, no rings. The biggest frontrunner in sports history. Man I cant wait till d wadr leaves and its just lbj, then his true choaking skills well come to par..

    • pantsfreezone - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      You should learn to spell and stop eating glue.

  8. jjones314 - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    RANT OF THE YEAR!!

    ALL HATERS SHOULD WATCH!

  9. bengzki - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    No wonder PBT always writes about the Heat and LBJ, its like putting a meat in the middle of a desert and the vultures and flies will just come attacking eat haha!

    And its funny how Kobe all ends up with the talk between MJ and LBJ, let him heal, he is not in the conversation, and just to put spice in it, there’s a reason why he has only one MVP. And if you’ll find a way to again include him in the conversation because of the 5 rings, it is there because it is a team effort. Ring/s = Team ; MVP/s = Individual.

    Back to the topic, MJ’s shots are different and LBJ’s shots are also different but they are both the reason why their team succeeded. In the end, if you want to discuss who’s better of the two in terms of individuality, its still MJ hands down.

  10. rodericksilva - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    How quickly everyone forgets that Kobe carried the Lakers in the 4th quarter of every playoff game and especially with the Hack-a-Shak.

    Pau is a good all around center. Kobe’s last two rings were ALL KOBE.

    MJ then Kobe then LJ in our generation.

    LJ is actually better all around. Like a mini Oscar Robertson. You guys remember the big O. HE AVERAGED A TRIPLE-DOUBLE FOR FIVE YEARS!!!

    LJ would have to double his current triple-double count of 35 to get to 70. Then he would need to double it again to reach Magic’s 140. Then he’d be getting in the neighborhood of possibly reaching Oscar Robertson.

    Lets not get started on Russell and his 11 rings. He’d be my captain and #1 pick on any all-time dream team.

  11. wswalcottmedshow - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Lebron James is actually a better basketball player than MJ. He is a better rebounder, defender and passer. He is the consummate team player. Lebron is growing more and more as he develops his jump shoot and post play, and he can play any position on the court. oh …, and did I mention Lebron is actually a nice guy.

  12. sportsnut101 - Jun 29, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Lebron had mj moment when he scored 25 straight points against pistons in playoffs. But this shot was behind Steven Kerr moment when he game winning shot in finals game

    Please lebron. Ifi don’t wanna be compared to Jordan don’t say dumb things like this lol

    I hope heat lose next season

  13. cornbreadbbqred - Jul 2, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Uh, it was Jordanesque only terms that he pushed off on Tony Parker to get the shot, much like Jordan did Bryon Williams to get the shot off that won his last championship. Similarity? They were both the current NBA brand to be protected at all cost by the refs.

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