'An MJ moment ... an LJ moment': James tells SI he thought of Jordan after shot to seal Finals

  • Article by: TIM REYNOLDS , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 9:33 AM

MIAMI — LeBron James' final jump shot of the NBA Finals for the Miami Heat left him thinking about Michael Jordan.

James told Sports Illustrated for a story released Wednesday that he spent time during this year's title series watching Jordan's iconic, title-clinching shot for the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 finals. So when James made a jumper with 27.9 seconds left in Game 7 of this year's title series against the San Antonio Spurs, his thoughts turned to that Jordan shot.

"I know it wasn't the magnitude of MJ hitting that shot in '98, but I definitely thought about him," James said. "It was an MJ moment."

He then paused for a moment, before adding, "It was an LJ moment."

James is on this week's SI cover, the 20th time he has appeared on the front of the magazine. The image is of him gazing down at the Larry O'Brien Trophy, with his reflection visible off the top of the gold ball.

James is often compared to Jordan, and the debate has raged for years about which NBA superstar is better. James has said many times that it's humbling to be in that conversation, and tweeted back in February, "I'm not MJ, I'm LJ."

He watched Game 6 of the 1998 Bulls-Jazz series in his hotel room in San Antonio during this year's finals, up to the moment where Jordan posed after making the shot that sealed Chicago's sixth championship.

James' jumper against the Spurs came with no pose, but it was enormous for the Heat. It gave Miami a 92-88 lead, and the Spurs didn't score again.

James told the magazine that when he woke up the day after Game 7, he began to realize how much of a physical toll the series took on him, and how many injuries he was playing through.

"I felt all these nicks and bruises and little injuries I didn't know I had," James said. "My back, my hamstring, my ankle, both my elbows, they were all aching. I guess I just didn't pay attention to them."

He also discussed the promises that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had the team make to one another, in the form of contracts that would remind everyone what they were tasked with during the postseason. James took his pact extremely seriously, using his formal signature — not his scrawled autograph — to seal his deal.

"I wrote out LeBron James like it was a check," James said.

The story also gives some detail about Miami's 27-game winning streak, which began on Super Bowl Sunday, a day the Heat spent in Toronto for a day game against the Raptors. The plane Miami uses for its charter flights is not equipped with live television, and the original travel plan for that day had the team scheduled to be in the air during the Baltimore-San Francisco game for the NFL title.

James wanted the team to remain in Toronto for a few hours to see the Super Bowl, and the team arranged to make that happen. It turned out to be one of the most important team-bonding moments of the season, Heat forward Shane Battier said.

"We were always close, but that took it to another level," Battier said. "I believe that night was the impetus for the streak."

James also addresses his future in the SI piece. He told reporters Tuesday that he will not start really thinking about the chance to be a free agent in the summer of 2014 until next season ends, and reiterated that stance with the magazine.

"I'm a totally different person on the court, off the court and everywhere in between," James said. "I know it will come up, but it's not going to come up until it's at that point."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 1 2nd Prd
NY Islanders 1
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close