Invoking the name of Michael Jordan is a sure fire way to stir up controversy in any basketball discussion, but Jordan-sponsored Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade had no problem doing just that when he compared teammate LeBron James’s level of play to that of MJ. Coming off his first NBA championship, James is no doubt at the top of the current class of NBA superstars, controlling the court in most aspects. However, whenever a player is called into comparison with Jordan’s legacy, the arguments are rarely civil. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel asked Wade if James, a three-time MVP, was playing at the caliber of the NBA’s greatest legend.
“He’s on that level,” Wade said, “but he has a lot more to do to get there. I think he understands he has an unbelievable opportunity to be one of the greatest to play this game. But that’s when he gets done playing, he can say that.”
“Right now, he has so much more to cover in his career. He’s just getting started at the same time when Michael kind of just got started,” Wade added. “We’ll see how it all shakes out. I hope it shakes out the same way. I’ll be a very happy man.”
Though the summer has been filled with debate over the strength of 2012’s Team USA versus the 1992 Dream Team, the approaching NBA season will bring more of the individual comparisons as James and Wade attempt to repeat as champions. While James’ career achievements certainly can’t be compared to those of Jordan as of yet, Wade makes the case that LeBron has had as large an impact on multiple aspects of the game as Jordan did. After years of enduring critics, James’ performance in the finals and the Olympics may place him in the highest of company right now, but legends take time to build.