LeBron James has been compared to Michael Jordan seemingly forever, but Dwyane Wade sees a stark difference when it comes to the sunset years of each player’s career.
“Michael, he averaged 20 when he came back,” Wade said. “He was still very good, but LeBron has stayed at a level that we haven’t seen. … He’s averaging 30 points a game in his 20th year in the league. So, I’m just happy that I get an opportunity to be a part of his greatness in any way I can, man. But we all witnesses, right? So, we gon’ see where he ends up.”
Jordan ended his 15-season NBA career as a 40-year-old with the Wizards, averaging 20.0 points per game in the 2002-03 campaign, his second after coming out of a three-season retirement.
Meanwhile, James, 38, just finished his 20th consecutive NBA season, averaging 28.9 points per contest for the Lakers across 55 games. He helped the Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
Jordan never made the playoffs with the Wizards, but he won the NBA Finals for the sixth time in six tries in 1998 with the Chicago Bulls, his 13th and final season with his original team.
James won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020, and his legacy in Los Angeles has been the topic of some debate lately, especially after he hinted at retirement following the series loss to the Nuggets. Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal said James deserves a statue from the team, but Antoine Walker said if James gets a statue anywhere, it should be in Cleveland to mark his accomplishments with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The future Hall of Famer remains in pursuit of equaling Jordan’s six NBA titles, all won for the Bulls. James has won his four crowns with three different teams, one each with the Lakers and Cavs and two with the Miami Heat. He also has been to the NBA Finals six other times and lost.
James accomplished all he did this season despite a foot injury that may require surgery this offseason. He remains one of the best players in the NBA even at this stage of his career and could be in position to contend for another title next season.
The Lakers silenced a lot of doubters with their playoff run, and if they can take a similar or improved roster into next season, James could end his career in a way Jordan did not: by winning another championship ring.