Remember during his playing days when Michael Jordan told a reporter he was among the finest players ever to lace them up in the history of the Association? How about when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson said during a TV interview, that their images should be on the NBA version of Mount Rushmore? If you answered yes to either or both question, you are either a liar, or you were doing some mighty fine drugs in the eighties and nineties. Those three members of the Basketball Hall Of Fame would have felt mortified had statements such as those been attributed to them.
It turns out that the player many NBA observers consider the best player on the floor in this era LeBron James, feels no need to hide behind false modesty. According to “ESPN.com” the Miami Heat forward in an interview which will be broadcast Monday on “NBA-TV,” proclaimed loudly and proudly that he should be perceived on the same level that Bird, Johnson and Jordan are.
James told the reporter “I’m going to be one of the top four that’s ever played this game, for sure. And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they’d better find another spot on that mountain. Somebody’s gotta get bumped, but that’s not for me to decide. That’s for the architects.”
The four-time winner of the NBA MVP Award, immediately named Bird, Johnson and Jordan as three of the players who deserve the recognition that he does. It took him a while, however he named Oscar Robertson as the fourth player that should have his face etched in stone.
Former Celtics forward Larry Bird was amongst the biggest trash-talkers ever to step onto an NBA court. One year he walked into the locker-room before participating in the NBA Three-Point Shot Contest. He smiled at his competition and asked “Hey Boys, whose going to come in second-place today?” He of course backed up his boasts with his performance in the contest, winning with ease. However, he never would have told a member of the media he believed he belonged with the best players in the Association and either would Michael or Magic. They were way above singing their own praises to the media and in turn the fans.
James started expressing his value mid-way through his rookie campaign, after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded away talented but troubled forward Ricky Davis to the Boston Celtics. From that point on he referred to the squad as his and veteran center’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ team. He constantly would refer to himself as one of the best young players in the game. What would have come off as hubris from another rookie, was just confidence when expressed by the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, as far as we members of the eyes of the Cleveland media who covered him.
The question that first popped into my head when I read his statements, was is he that insecure about the perception people have of him that he is now going around tooting his own horn? For a player who has accomplished as much as he has in his career; why is he coming off as so needy? Is he still having flash-backs of the 2010-2011 season when he was the villain of the NBA. Does that still haunt him four-years later?
The comparison between LeBron and the three legends, is reminiscent of the way Kaye West and Jay-Z conduct themselves. West is always self-promoting, no matter what the subject is he consistently turns it into a vehicle for touting how important figure he is in the history of R&B. Mr. Carter never boasts like that; Jay-Z lets his music speak for itself because he has enough confidence in his work. Perhaps LBJ can learn a lesson or two from his long time friend and allow his exploits on the hardwood to do his talking.