LeBron James has further solidified his place in the Michael Jordan tier of NBA greats since joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
James has won his fourth championship with the Lakers, bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to L.A. in 2019-20. He’s also replaced Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time top scorer, beating his record of 44,149 points scored in both the regular season and playoffs.
During the 2022 All-Star Weekend, James said Jordan’s career inspired him to pursue greatness himself. Hence, he rushed to speak with his idol after both players took part in the celebration of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during the event in Cleveland.
“[T]here was so much chaos going on after we all kind of split,” James said.
“I did not want to lose the opportunity to shake the man’s hand that inspired me throughout my childhood. I haven’t had much dialogue with him in my 20 years or 19 years in this business, but part of me wouldn’t be here without MJ’s inspiration.
“I always wanted to be like him growing up.”
James said even the game-winning fadeaway that sealed Team LeBron’s victory on Sunday was a page taken out of Jordan’s book.
“It’s crazy that the game-winning shot tonight was a fadeaway, and it was inspired by MJ,” he said.
“The way he wore his shoes, the way he wore his uniform, I mean, all the way down to some of the cars that he drove, how much he inspired me. I didn’t want to waste that opportunity because we’re just not in — we’re not in the same building a lot and haven’t been in the same building a lot throughout my career.
“It meant something to me.”
James appreciative of cheers from hometown fans at All-Star Game
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse got loud when the announcer mentioned James’ Ohio roots during the presentation of the All-Star Game teams. The four-time NBA champion visibly savored the moment — and then said he appreciated the cheers hometown fans greeted him with.
“I mean, these guys have followed my journey,” James said.
“For me to be back here, like I said, today, and for them to give me that warm welcome, didn’t only mean something to me, but it meant something to my family and friends that are here, and my kids from my school are all over this place.
“It’s just super dope. Super, super, super dope, and I was very humbled and appreciative of that.”