LeBron James or Michael Jordan? That is the debate that has plagued the NBA for the greater half of this decade, and while everyone has their own stance on the often heated debate, James himself believes he’s the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. However, it wasn’t until recently James started feeling this way.
In the latest episode of Uninterrupted’s “More Than An Athlete,” James said he didn’t think he was the greatest player of all time until he led the Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016:
“That one right there made me the greatest player of all time. That’s what I felt. I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought... The first wave of emotion was when everyone saw me crying. That was all for 52 years of everything in sports that has gone on in Cleveland.
“And then after I stopped I was like ‘Psh, that one right there made you the greatest player off all time.’ Everybody was just talking about how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all time, like they was the greatest team ever assembled, and for us to come back the way we came back in that fashion, I was like ‘You did something special.’
“That’s probably one of the only times in my career where I’ve felt like ‘oh shit. Like you did something special.’ I haven’t really had time to sit back and think, but that was a moment.”
Those moments, along with his historic dominance, are what James has going for him in the G.O.A.T. debate. James might still have less rings than Jordan by the time he hangs them up, but it’s hard to argue that Jordan had a more memorable moment of his career than James did in the 2016 finals.
Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping James can add to those special moments by leading L.A. back to the NBA Finals some time within the next three years. With the current roster, it seems unlikely, but so did coming back from a 3-1 lead against a historically dominant team.
If anyone can do it, it’s The King.