Everyone wants to look at LeBron James’s career through a microscope, comparing his accomplishments to that of Michael Jordan. His Airness has more rings over the course of his career, and you could make the case that he never had to leave his team and form a “Super Team” to do it — although the 1996 Chicago Bulls were as super of a team as there ever was.
While it’s fair to compare what they’ve each achieved on the basketball court, contrasting the two players is an apples-and-oranges kind of conversation. You can better compare these five former NBA stars to James.
1. Adrian Dantley
Small forward Adrian Dantley was an NBA star in the late ’70s and into the ’80s. The muscular athlete could score by getting to the basket, play defense, rebound, and even get some assists. Sounds familiar? Dantley’s game wasn’t exactly like James, but there are similarities. In his best season, as a member of the Utah Jazz back in 1980–81, Dantley averaged 30.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and four assists per game to go along with 1.4 steals.
The 6-foot-5 forward was a bit shorter than James, coming in at just 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds. He was under-appreciated for the kind of player he was, in large part because he played the majority of his career on non-title contenders. He did get his chance as a 31-year-old on the 1987–88 Detroit Pistons, but that team fell short in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. By that time, he was no longer one of the top players in the league anymore — and not even the best player on his own team.