The Chicago Tribune put together a great list of memories of Michael Jordan from around the NBA in honor of his fiftieth birthday. There were some great stories in the list, but there was also a really weird one from LeBron James.
Granted, you need to have a subscription to the Tribune to get the full list. We nonsubscribers do get a free peek at the first page, though, which features this great story from Reggie Miller about an early run-in with MJ during his rookie year:
The one that stands out — and I mentioned it in my Hall of Fame speech — was the first time I faced him, which was an exhibition. We were in one of those obscure places, a neutral-site game. … I was a rookie. It was Chuck Person’s second year. As most veterans do, they go through the motions. I was a jacked-up rookie, going 100 percent. Chuck, where I get all my talking from, was getting me all hyped up, saying, “You’re killing Jordan.” End of the half, I have 10. Jordan has eight. Chuck was telling me to talk mess to Michael. He was saying, ”You’re the new guy. You’re going to be all that.” Michael just looked at me. In the second half, the real Michael Jordan came out. I think he ended up with 45 points. I had 12, just two after half. He looked at me and I was like, “OK, now I get it.”
But that’s not what we’re here for. No, we’re here for this weird quote from LeBron about his favorite MJ memory. Take a look:
I got so many memories of MJ. Name it. From the shoes to him flying through the air and switching hands against the Lakers to him hitting 3s versus the Blazers to him being on the TV screen with Bugs Bunny to him jumping over buildings in the suit in the commercials to him swinging a baseball bat or hitting a golf ball to him having a cartoon. MJ was an inspiration to me. He has done so many great things for our sport, so many great things for sport in general.
What? You had me at “switching hands against the Lakers” and “hitting 3s versus the Blazers,” but you lose me with the rest, Bron-Bron. Whose favorite Jordan memory is one of his commercials? Or playing baseball? Or playing golf?
I mean, no one is a bigger Jordan fan than me. No one. I’m such a Jordan homer that I don’t think he’s done a bad job as a GM/owner (I could defend the Kwame Brown AND Adam Morrison picks if I needed to. Don’t make me do it.). But even I don’t look back fondly on him playing freaking golf. Are you serious?
Doesn’t it kind of sound like LeBron secretly isn’t a fan of Michael Jordan? “Oh yeah, I liked all the stuff he did, including these things no one else cares about, not even Michael himself.” Methinks LeBron is overcompensating. Methinks LeBron grew up rooting for the Utah Jazz. Makes sense to me; dude has the game of John Stockton and Karl Malone combined, not to mention Malone’s body and hairline. Sounds like someone is still bitter over 1997 and 1998.
And wouldn’t a true Jordan fan have namechecked Space Jam? Michael Jordan didn’t “have a cartoon.” He was in Space Jam. Period. MJ had a cartoon as much as much as Jerry Seinfeld had a TV show or Kurt Cobain had a band. This wasn’t some “Garfield And Friends”-type clown show. It was SPACE. BLEEPING. JAM. Show some respect.
No wonder MJ said he would rather have Kobe Bryant than LeBron. Kobe knows there was, and will only ever be, one true “King.”