by Marcel Mutoni / @ marcel_mutoni
LeBron James has a well-documented obsession with Michael Jordan — he wore MJ’s iconic #23 when he entered the League, and continues to watch old Jordan games in his spare time.
LeBron, however, doesn’t approach the game the same way Michael did — or how Kobe Bryant does, for that matter — and James explains that his method works just fine.
When people think about the killer instinct, they always think of MJ and Kobe. Do people underestimate your killer instinct? People say you have it but not like those two. Do you think you have it like they do?
“Ahh. I’ll just put it this way, man. There are different ways to hunt. I watch the Discovery Channel all the time, and you look at all these animals in the wild. And they all hunt a different way to feed their families. They all kill a different way. Lions do it strategically — two females will lead, and then everybody else will come in. Hyenas will just go for it. There are different ways to kill, and I don’t think people understand that. Everybody wants everybody to kill the same way. Everybody wants everybody to kill like MJ or kill like Kobe. Magic didn’t kill the way they killed. Does that mean he didn’t have a killer instinct? Kareem didn’t either. But does that mean Kareem didn’t have a killer instinct? The same with Bird. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a killer instinct. Tim Duncan don’t kill like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but I’ve played against Tim Duncan twice in the Finals and I know for sure he’s got a killer instinct. So there are different ways to kill. MJ had a killer instinct for sure. But if people really think that MJ didn’t talk to nobody and didn’t smile on the court, they’re crazy. They’re crazy. I’ve seen him. I was watching a clip the other day of him blocking Charles Barkley, and they’re laughing about the play — on the floor. Right now, if I block Kevin Durant on the floor, or I block Carmelo Anthony and we laugh about it? Ahh, I’m going to get killed [laughing]. I’m telling you. But there are different ways of killing.”
The whole interview is pretty great, and offers rare insight into LeBron’s mind: he says that Allen Iverson was his second favorite player growing up, admits that his biggest obstacle is an enormous fear of failure, and reveals plans to become an even more punishing post presence.
Michael Jordan’s legacy is obviously secure, and his army of supporters may never agree to place anyone alongside their hero. LeBron James is making his own case, and has proven that he doesn’t need to be like Mike in order to be considered among the greatest NBA players ever.