Jay Williams believes LeBron James is disingenuous for claiming that he’ll never be 100%, contrasting this front with Michael Jordan.
LeBron James went through 15 seasons of his career without ever suffering a serious long-term injury. This changed in his 16th year as he suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day 2018 against Golden State.
The 2018-19 season finished on a low for LeBron, but he bounced back with his 4th championship last year. James managed to stay injury-free through intelligent minute- and load-management. All of that went out of the window this year.
James had to shoulder a higher workload in the absence of Anthony Davis for 6-7 weeks. He was doing well until mid-March, when Solomon Hill clattered into his ankle and gave him his first career in-game injury.
Having used the past 6 weeks to rehabilitate, one would think that James would be close to full fitness. But James’s performances in his 2 May games clearly suggest that he’s still some way from 100% health.
Now, this doesn’t mean in any way that James will not be back to full fitness, but LeBron expressed such a sentiment after the Lakers’ loss to Sacramento last weekend. It’s given tons of fodder to Jordan truthers to get on LeBron’s back for his negative statement.
Jay Williams says Michael Jordan, unlike LeBron James, would never say he’s not 100%
The former Duke product has held the Akron Hammer in extremely high regard all through LeBron’s career. That isn’t about to change anytime soon, but Williams said something that’ll definitely be fodder for James’s haters.
Williams began in a conciliatory manner, stating from the outset that he thinks LeBron is the GOAT. Jay then also praised LeBron for shouldering increased responsibilities this year, instead of load managing:
“LeBron James took no time off. Remember after they won a championship, everybody started talking about, ‘Maybe LeBron James should load manage and really kind of ease into this.’”
Jay Williams on LeBron James saying he’ll never get back to 100% in his career
“I’ve never heard MJ say something like that…MJ just wouldn’t say anything at all.”https://t.co/Rxs2RGqgRZ
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 5, 2021
“He didn’t do that. He refused to do that, played almost every game throughout the season. I respect that about LeBron James, puts him in a tough situation now. I still think if he’s healthy they’ll be OK.”
But what he said after that is pretty much the anti-LeBron rhetoric we’ve been listening to, all these years:
“As a guy who played for the [Chicago] Bulls, who has watched Michael Jordan for a long time, I’ve never heard MJ say something like that. MJ just wouldn’t say anything.”
In fairness to Jay, one would indeed have a hard time visualizing MJ making negative, pessimistic statements like this at the peak of his Bulls career.