Imagine you’re LeBron James. Imagine you’ve finally done the unthinkable; not just crawling out of a 3-1 NBA Finals hole against the best regular-season team in history, but actually bringing a championship back to the starving city of Cleveland. How do you top that? More importantly, how do you motivate yourself after reaching what is arguably the peak of your professional career?
This latter question was posed to James at the annual Nike Skills Academy, as noted in a recent Sports Illustrated article by Lee Jenkins. If you think you know how James responded, you’re in for a rude awakening. Given the way the landscape in the NBA shifted following the 2016 free agency period, one might assume that Golden State’s newly formed “Super Team” would be motivation enough for James. But that’s not it. Not even close. As the King puts it: “My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.”
Since the day he broke onto the scene, James has been compared — unfairly so — to Michael Jordan. It’s an impossible standard to live up to. We all know this. But that hasn’t stopped the world from viewing the “Chosen One” as the heir apparent to His Airness’s thrown. Now we finally know the truth: At this moment in his career, it’s the ghost of Jordan’s greatness that motivates James.
The reality is that no matter what James does or doesn’t do for the rest of his career, his legacy as one of the best basketball players of all time is set. However, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we don’t think there’s any way he’ll usurp Jordan as the greatest player in history. Of course, if that’s James’s ultimate end game, here’s a list of five things he needs to do to help his cause.