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LeBron James may never escape the burden of being compared to Michael Jordan, but he is not exactly avoiding that argument. While being awarded Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year Award Wednesday night, James showed SI he keeps a rendering of Jordan guarding him on his phone.
According to SI, the altered photo is the phone's screen saver image. James explained why the photo was there.
"Jordan was my superhero growing up," James explained. "He was the guy I feel helped me get to where I am today. As a competitor, who would not want to go against the best? That's like asking [Tom] Brady would he want to go against [Joe] Montana in the fourth quarter."
James and Jordan are too unique to really make an apples-to-apples comparison. Jordan, for instance, did not have the size that allows James to play any position on the floor, while James can't match Jordan's pure shooting ability.
Still, it's awesome that James also thinks about what would happen if he and Jordan in his prime faced each other on the same court.
Not that James does not have another rivalry to occupy him, one that even exists. In SI's cover story on James this week, he discussed what keeps him working after winning his first NBA title and 3rd MVP last season.
"I know there is someone, somewhere, trying to take my spot," James said about Kevin Durant. "And I know where he is too. He's in Oklahoma. He's my inspiration because I see the direction he's headed, and it's the same direction I'm headed. I know his mindset, and he knows mine. It's a collision course. We're driving one another."
Durant too acknowledges the rivalry, telling The Oklahoman Thursday, "I really respect him and I really compete against him hard."
With a LeBron-MJ matchup still but a fantasy, this will have to do. James and Durant have already faced off in one NBA Finals before, and it seems like it's only a matter of time before it happens again.