For now anyway.
The Miami Heat star weighed his words carefully on Thursday when asked if teammate LeBron James warranted consideration in Air Jordan’s lofty stratosphere.
“I don’t know if [James] has the ability to surpass [Jordan] or not,” Wade told ESPNChicago.com. “That’s yet to be seen. My version as LeBron being on par with Michael is this: They’re both on the golf course. Michael’s on the 18th hole; LeBron is somewhere on like the fourth hole. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s on par to get to the 18th hole.”
An eight-time NBA All-Star in his own right, Wade went on to laud the tremendous blend of speed, size and overall athleticism that has made James the unquestioned best player in the world today.
But added that there was just one MJ.
“Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, so that’s who everyone shoots for,” he said. “So it’s going to be hard to surpass that.”
Wade’s measured comments contrasted from those of a week ago, when he committed heresy in the eyes of some by saying that James, the three-time NBA MVP, had reached the same rarified air in which Jordan is held.
An eight-time NBA All-Star and former league scoring champion in 2008, the 27-year-old James capped an amazing year earlier this month by leading Team USA to the gold medal at the London Olympic Games. The achievement came on the heels of third MVP award, his first NBA championship and an NBA Finals MVP award.
Jordan was also 27 when he won the first of his six NBA championships.
The two players are the ones to ever claim league MVP trophies, NBA team championships and Olympic gold medals in the same year.
James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game for the Heat last season.