Lakers’ LeBron James Claps Back on Insider’s Michael Jordan Tweet

LeBron James, Lakers

Getty LeBron James, Lakers

No player in the NBA today—or perhaps in all of American sports—has every word he publicly utters parsed quite like Lakers star LeBron James. So when he felt he was being taken out of context by one of the reporters who has covered him longest and most thoroughly, James was quick to step in with a clarification.

What caught James’ eye was a story by ESPN’s Brain Windhorst, who used quotes from an interview released on YouTube by Uninterrupted, James’ media company.

In tweeting out the story, Windhorst wrote, “As people compare and argue about their legacies, LeBron James says he’s envisioned Michael Jordan as a teammate not an adversary.”

To that, James offered a clarification: “No I didn’t say I envisioned MJ as a teammate not an adversary. A question was asked ‘Do I think I could have been a teammate of his and compl(e)ment his game.’ I love the greats and would have loved to play with them all during their runs because I (am) a historian of the game but … I also would die to compete vs every single one of them too! Don’t ever get it twisted! Nevertheless MJ Thank You for being my angel, inspiration, superhero!!”

What LeBron James Really Said About Michael Jordan

Here’s what James said when asked about playing with Jordan, after there had been discussion about footage in the ESPN documentary, “The Last Dance,” that showed Jordan’s win-at-all-costs mindset, which could be notoriously difficult on teammates:

I could care less about how great Mike was, how transcendent he was as a person, as a personality, but just his drive. I know me, personally, the way I play the game, when it comes to team first, I just feel like my best assets work perfectly with Mike. Mike is an assassin. Mike is an assassin when it comes to playing the game of basketball, scoring the way he scored the ball, my ability to pass, my ability to read the game plays and plays and plays in advance.

And then just taking the challenge. I love when a teammate comes to me and challenges me and tells me, ‘OK, all right, c’mon now. When I was in Miami (Dwyane) Wade used be like, ‘All right 6, let’s go.’ (Coach Tyronn) Lue used to challenge me when I was in Cleveland, ‘All right, Bron, what you waiting on?’ I just see that from Mike and I feel like our games would be a perfect correlation to be able to just be successful.

More important—and this was the crux of James’ Twitter complaint—was the question that was asked by host Paul Rivera before James gave those thoughts: “Knowing what we know now about Mike, his commitment to winning and his leadership style, would you have loved to play with Mike and be a teammate of Mike?”

The exchange can be heard at 38:06 of the YouTube video:

VideoVideo related to lakers’ lebron james claps back on insider’s michael jordan tweet2020-05-19T08:17:15-04:00

So, yes, James never did address his desire to face off against Jordan as an adversary. But he was not asked about that. Instead, he responded to a question about playing alongside Jordan.

LeBron James Itching to Play

James did say that watching the documentary had him missing the game more as the NBA continues to be sidelined because of the coronavirus. James and the Lakers last played on March 10 in a loss to the Nets at Staples Center. The following night, Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and commissioner Adam Silver made the decision to shut down the league until further notice.

“Right now, usually, the summertime is kind of when I get extra motivated,” James said. “Because I get an opportunity to watch my son play. And going on that circuit, watching them play AAU ball, you’re like, ‘Wow, man,’ it gets the juices reflowing again. I’m like, ‘Wow, I want to get back out there and play right now.’ … Watching ‘The Last Dance,’ you’re like, I’ll play anywhere. I’ll play anywhere. We can really go outside in my driveway and we can start a game right now.”

READ MORE: 11 Hall of Famers Weigh In on LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan Debate

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