LeBron James may call himself the “King”, and Michael Jordan may be the “GOAT”, but the internet as always is the real winner.
Someone created a perfect mashup video that went viral on Monday. The video combines a clip of LeBron James talking about his Cleveland Cavaliers coming back from down 3-1 to beat the Golden State Warriors in 2016, which led James to call himself the greatest. Then comes the viral clip of Michael Jordan laughing at comments from Gary Payton that aired in “The Last Dance”.
Here’s the video:
They combined the clip of Lebron saying he’s the GOAT with the Jordan laughing clip. The internet wins LMAOOOO pic.twitter.com/FwMZLSMvZh
— Shane (@ShaneSh121) May 11, 2020
We don’t know how MJ would have reacted to a clip of LeBron saying that, but many can guess his reaction would be similar. Why? Jordan won six championship compared to the three LeBron has won. Also, many people would agree that James does not have Jordan’s “killer mentality” as one current coach described it.
Nearly a decade later, Erik Spoelstra is finally speaking out about “Bumpgate.”
In an interview this week with TNT’s Ernie Johnson on the NBA’s Twitter feed, the Miami Heat coach was asked about the notorious incident in 2010 where LeBron James appeared to bump him on the sideline during a timeout.
“No, I don’t think so,” Spoelstra said of the notion that James bumped him intentionally, per the Miami Herald. “When you’re on teams like that, they naturally get micro-analyzed. We were 9-8 after that game, it exploded in the media. After that, we went on a run, winning 21 out of 22.”
Spoelstra then added that, in the weeks following the incident, he and James “would walk by each other in the hallways and collide into each other and we would laugh.”
The bumping controversy was certainly a big deal at the time, as Miami was off to a brutal start in the first season of their Big Three era. Questions also lingered about if Spoelstra was the right man for the job and if Heat president Pat Riley might fire him to return as head coach himself. The team righted the ship however and made the Finals for the next four years in a row, including winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Rumors might still abound that James once wanted Spoelstra to be fired. But as one of James’ longest-lasting head coaches (and now one of the longest-tenured coaches in the entire NBA), there is definitely something to be said about Spoelstra’s perseverance and ability to lead through turmoil.
Kevin Love is one of the last men standing in Cleveland from their 2016 title team, and he wishes their run of success would have lasted longer than it did.
In an interview this week with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavaliers big man spoke on the years that he shared with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
“To even have just one more run at it, to see what we were capable of. Just one more run. I would’ve really loved to see that,” said Love. “I think we would’ve been primed for another really big run. Even if it was, for both of them, their last year in Cleveland. It would’ve been nice to see what we were capable of.”
After winning the championship in 2016, the Cavs made their way back to the Finals in 2017 with a record-setting offense. They lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors however, and Irving demanded (and received) a trade that offseason. James and Love then led a depleted Cavs team to yet another Finals berth in 2018, but they fell to the Warriors again, this time in a sweep. James then departed for the Los Angeles Lakers that summer.
Love’s comments are notable because he was often seen as a mismatched third wheel in that Big Three. With Cleveland now in the midst of a second straight sub-20-win season though, the All-Star big can fully appreciate how good the team used to have it back when his co-stars were still around.
Whatever vendetta Pat Riley once had against his former franchise superstar now appears to be firmly in the past.
In an interview this weekend with team broadcaster Eric Reid, the Miami Heat president reflected on how the “Big Three” era came to be in 2010 and delivered some lofty praise for LeBron James in the process.
— FOX Sports Sun: HEAT (@FOXSportsHEAT) May 2, 2020
“After July the 1st, I just laid it out on the table,” said Riley. “LeBron and Chris [Bosh], two of the greatest players in our game. And LeBron, maybe the greatest player of all-time, with Dwyane [Wade].
“All you gotta do is put it on the table after July the 1st and say, ‘Why keep banging your head against the wall like you have been in Cleveland?'” Riley added. “Chris in Toronto having great seasons but never really getting far in the playoffs. I said, ‘Here’s an opportunity to have three of the greatest players in the game in their prime at a time they can make this kind of decision.'”
Riley’s praise for James here is quite noteworthy. While their relationship was sunshine and rainbows during their four years together in Miami that yielded back-to-back NBA championships, it quickly soured once James left to return to Cleveland in 2014. Riley once stated that James’ departure was “personal” and revealed that he almost wrote a Dan Gilbert-style letter trashing The King when it first happened.
The 75-year-old has since taken on a more conciliatory tone about James’ exit however, and this weekend’s comments may be his latest peace offering. Riley also coached Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the LA Lakers as well as coached against Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference for many years, adding another interesting layer to his “greatest of all-time” remarks.
H/T Heat Nation
- LeBron James
LeBron James has been enjoying “The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN like so many of us.
James tweeted on Monday to share his reaction after watching the fourth episode of the documentary. James said he was moved watching Michael Jordan win his first of six NBA championships, which came in 1991.
Watching Episode 4. Watching/Seeing MJ hold that first damn near had me tearing up ! That feeling and level of emotions is unexplainable when you been through the
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 27, 2020
James has won three titles and understands better than almost anyone what it’s like to finally break through and win it all after trying so hard for years.
Much like Jordan, it took James a while before he finally won his first title, which came in 2012 — LeBron’s ninth season in the league. Jordan did not win his first title until 1991, his seventh season in the league. Of course, MJ then rattled off three in a row and then another three after returning from playing baseball. That’s why James is still trying to rack up titles and increase his standing among the greatest players of all time.
The Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate is one that has fueled millions of discussions. Both are great players, but who is the best? Everyone has an opinion, and Michael Malone recently shared his.
In a conference call with reporters, the Denver Nuggets coach said MJ was the greatest of all time. He acknowledged that James is in the conversation, but he feels the current Los Angeles Laker does not have the “killer mentality” that MJ had.
“It’s always an ongoing argument about who is the GOAT. Michael obviously is up there and is the greatest of all time,” Malone said Tuesday in a Zoom call with reporters, via USA Today’s Mark Medina. “There are not many Michael Jordans out there. I coached LeBron James for five years and have a great relationship with him. LeBron did not have the same mindset or killer mentality that Michael Jordan is supposed to have had. But LeBron James is arguably the greatest of all time as well.”
I agree completely with Malone’s analysis.
James is a great player and arguably the greatest all-around player of all time. But MJ was more of a killer, win-at-all-costs guy, and that’s a big reason why he went 6-0 in the NBA Finals. I just don’t think Jordan would have stood around and taken a backseat the way James did in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Regardless, James is still a great player, and his greatness could be part of the reason why Jordan authorized “The Last Dance“.
Michael Jordan is well known for carefully controlling his image in retirement. That’s why it was a surprise to some that he both authorized ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, but also sat for interviews.
The documentary is built around footage from the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season, Jordan’s last with the franchise. During that season, NBA Entertainment cameras were given unprecedented access to the team both on and off the court. As part of the deal to receive that access, it was agreed that none of the footage would be publicly released without Jordan’s consent. For years, that consent was not given, and the film sat in the NBA’s vaults.
So what changed? Mike Tollin, one of the producers of “The Last Dance,” may have offered a clue when recounting how he got Jordan to authorize the documentary. Tollin was promised the chance to meet with Jordan for a face-to-face presentation in June 2016 while the former Bulls star was doing draft prep in his role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Something else major was happening in the NBA world that day by coincidence.
“The universe has such a funny sense of humor,” Tollin said, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “Because when I woke up, I put on ESPN while I’m getting dressed, and there’s LeBron [James] and the Cavaliers parading through the streets of Cleveland with the trophy that they’d just won.”
That 2016 title was James’ third. It also came at the end of a season that saw the Golden State Warriors win 73 games, breaking a record set by Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls team. Tollin didn’t explicitly say these reasons may have fueled Jordan’s willingness to authorize the documentary, but they may have played a role.
To be clear, there were other reasons. Tollin’s role as a producer of an Allen Iverson documentary that Jordan said “made me cry” helped the case. Still, it’s not hard to make that link between modern teams and players threatening Jordan’s accomplishments and Jordan’s willingness to authorize a documentary about the greatness of his Bulls teams. After all, Jordan found a way to remind that Golden State team that they had work to do even after breaking the regular season wins record. Defending his legacy is important to him.