Miami Heat superstar forward LeBron James told the media on Friday that he didn't feel championship rings defined someone's career.
Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports logged what James had to say on Sulia:
James said that "rings don't define somebody's career.'' He said he wouldn't take Bill Russell or Robert Horry over Michael Jordan as a player because they have more rings than Jordan.
It is an interesting retort by the three-time NBA MVP that came in response to comments made earlier this week by Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. As reported by ESPN, Jordan voiced his preference for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant over James, as far as who has had the better career to date.
For MJ, it was all about the rings.
The simple math of Bryant's five NBA titles to James' one was enough to push Bryant over the top in Jordan's judgment. Jordan indicated that James could still win more than five, but for now, "five is bigger than one."
The Black Mamba is also in the midst of his 17th NBA season, while James is in just his 10th. That leaves plenty of time for him to catch up.
James has been criticized in the past for putting too much emphasis on his personal brand as opposed to on-court accolades—particularly with respect to the Larry O'Brien Trophy. A quote like this won't thwart the scrutiny, as it is clearly reflective of a far different mindset for James.
After an incredible NBA Finals performance in which the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games, the self-proclaimed "King" had his first ring.
Considering how brilliantly he is playing this season, he could very well be on his way to a repeat. That would undoubtedly enhance his legacy, as Jordan hinted at.
But James' critics will have new fuel to add to the fire in light of this response to arguably the greatest player to ever play the game.