LeBron James rejects comparisons to Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali

0:55 | NBA
LeBron James rejects comparisons to Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali
Wednesday June 8th, 2016

Your teams. Your favorite writers. Wherever you want them. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.​

Cavaliers star LeBron James is often compared to elite athletes, but he rejected the latest comparison to Michael Jordan when speaking to the media on Tuesday.

On Monday, former Bulls coach Phil Jackson said the Cavaliers could come back from 0–2 in the playoffs just as the 1993 Bulls did if James plays like “a man possessed” in the same way Jordan did in that series. When asked about the comment, James rebuffed the need to emulate anyone else’s style of play. 

“I mean, what does that actually mean?” LeBron said of Jackson’s statement. “I mean, I think for me to go out and be who I am and play as true to the game and as hard as I can and try to lead this team, that’s who I am. Not anybody else. I’m not Michael. I’m not Ali. I’m not nobody else that’s done so many great things for sport. 

LeBron James: Muhammad Ali was a ‘pioneer’ for black athletes

“I am who I am, and if I’m able to go out and put together a game like that, it wasn’t because I was possessed. It’s because I worked on my craft all season long and that's the result of it. Phil’s a great coach. Mike’s a great player. But I am who I am.”

NADKARNI: How will LeBron recover from another one-sided NBA Finals?

The Cavaliers will play the Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.