LeBron James has revered Michael Jordan for a long time. Nearly everyone who follows the NBA or basketball closely does. The six time world champion is held out by something approaching a consensus as the greatest player of all time. Even if you think Wilt Chamberlain or Magic Johnson belong in the conversation, it usually starts with Mike.
James’ 3rd title, won this summer in historic fashion, gets him into the conversation with the guys who want to be considered as the greatest players of all time. If he retired today, he wouldn’t quite be at MJ’s level, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get there. James is no longer being shy about the goal. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press’s Tom Withers, he opened up even more than he did with Lee Jenkins earlier in the summer:
"It's a personal goal," James told The Associated Press on Monday. "I just never brought it up. It's my own personal goal to be able to be greater than great. I think that should be everybody's personal goal."
"If you work for any company or you work for any designer or anywhere, you're like, 'Oh, I aspire to be that guy because he's done it right.' He's the greatest and that's who you look at," he said. "So that's always been my personal goal, to use the motivation he gave me as a kid and I'll use it as motivation now as well that I want to get to where he is. That's never changed. People kind of wanted to turn it into a conversation, but that's my personal goal and that's where I land at."
He will need at least one more NBA championship to put a real dent on MJ’s rep as the greatest ever, but at age 31, he still has some time. The Golden State Warriors loom.