Rich Paul on LeBron James’ and Michael Jordan’s paths to greatness: ‘The road for LeBron was just as hard, if not harder’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

LeBron James was recently named the second-best player in the history of the NBA by The Athletic.

When The Athletic announced that it would be counting down the 75 greatest players in NBA history, there is little doubt that fans knew James would end up very close to the top spot.

However, those same fans also likely knew that Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan could be named to the No. 1 spot.

With James officially being placed at No. 2, it is now clear that Jordan will claim that top spot. In response to the honor, James’ agent and longtime friend Rich Paul made it clear that James’ road to NBA immortality has been just as difficult as Jordan’s was.

“The road for LeBron was just as hard, if not harder than the road was for Michael,” Paul told The Athletic. “For a number of reasons. And I think the biggest reason is, everyone wants you to do something the way somebody else did it previously.

“LeBron was a kid. (The media) wanted LeBron to be like Mike; they wanted Michael to speak to them in any capacity, which he probably didn’t. They wanted Michael to be his friend, which he probably wasn’t. They also wanted LeBron to act like, be like Michael, and he wasn’t.

“There were more people that smiled and hoped LeBron failed than there ever was rooting for him to succeed in the beginning.”

Of course, Paul’s opinion on the matter isn’t exactly objective. Paul and James have worked together for years and have built an empire together.

Paul has also become one of the most powerful agents in the entire sports world.

As for James, he is hoping to lead his Los Angeles Lakers out of a tough spot. Though James is averaging an impressive 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game this season, the Lakers are sorely disappointing fans this season.

They currently sit in the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference with a record of 27-31.

The Lakers won their last game before the All-Star break against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. Although L.A. was able to snap a three-game losing streak, star big man Anthony Davis went down with a gruesome ankle injury.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.