BOSTON -- With LeBron James needing 28 points to pass Michael Jordan (5,987 points) for first place on the all-time postseason scoring list, the Cleveland Cavaliers star elaborated on his personal pursuit of Jordan's legacy.
"It's just a personal goal of mine," James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. "It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all."
While James is in range of Jordan's playoff scoring mark, His Airness still holds reign over The King in championships (6 to 3), in MVPs (5 to 4) and in regular season scoring (Jordan is fourth all-time with 32,292 points; James is seventh with 28,787 points).
In trying to tighten that gap, James told participants at his summer basketball camp in California last offseason that, "My motivation is this ghost I'm chasing. The ghost played in Chicago."
James went on to revisit a point he first made when he joined Oscar Robertson as the only other player in league history to rank in the top 25 in all-time scoring and all-time assists: the discussion of the greatest diminishes the value of all the greats.
"You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature," James said. "It doesn't matter to me. At the end of the day, it's so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it's never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It's just like: (Dan) Marino, (John) Elway, (Peyton) Manning and (Tom) Brady. All great quarterbacks. You know, and it should be the same for us.
"We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night. The comparison of always trying to compare people either living or still playing or not playing, I think it's great for barbershops, but for me I'm just trying to put my mark on the game and leave a legacy behind so I can inspire the next group of kids that want to play the game the right way."