As a born and raised Cleveland sports fan, I legit have hope and optimism that LeBron James can, one day, surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest of all-time—even though I’ve been a diehard MJ fan since childhood.
And with James bringing attention to that fact that his motivation is “the ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago,” one of Jordan’s ex-teammates, B.J. Armstrong, says that, in order for LBJ to be the best, he needs to stop all the comparison talk and just go and ball the fuck out.
“Chasing a ghost is in make-believe land,” Armstrong told ESPN.com in a telephone conversation. “That’s far-out, that’s unattainable, that’s something you can’t achieve. This ain’t no ghost. If you want to do it, there’s a blueprint. It’s possible. There’s only one way to get there. It’s not possible for him to do what Jordan did because the circumstances are different, everything is different. What is possible for him is to be bigger than every situation that’s put in front of him, to dominate every situation that’s in front of him.”
Armstrong, who’s now an agent who represents players such as Derrick Rose, won three titles alongside Jordan, so he knows firsthand about the six-time champ’s mentality. So the former guard also added this advice to James:
“This is to LeBron James: If you want to be the best, get rid of the comparisons,” Armstrong said. “Get rid of all the comparisons that are out there. That’s what Michael Jordan did. Jordan realized that in order to be the best, you had to get rid of all the comparisons.”
“When you compared Jordan to somebody else, it made him more and more upset. That was with guys who played before him, guys he was playing against and guys in the future. He got upset every time [the media] got on TV and started comparing him to other people. When you compared who is the best 2-guard — Jerry West or Michael Jordan — he was upset. When you talked about who was the best player in the NBA, he was upset. When you talked about who had the most championships, he was upset.”
“I remember vividly him getting upset. He’s mad right now that somebody’s even thinking a guy can get to his level. Jordan tackled them all — Wilt [Chamberlain], everyone. Everyone from 1946 on, he went after them until there was no one left to compare him to. So my challenge to LeBron is: This ghost has a face to him. So get rid of all the comparisons because Jordan, unequivocally, did not want you to compare him to anyone.”
It’s a pretty interesting take by someone who played with Jordan, considering many believe what the Hall of Famer did is unattainable. But LeBron James is THAT good, so we’ll see if he takes B.J.’s advice and starts taking the comparisons as motivation more than anything else.