History says the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors are already over with. First of all, 94 percent of teams with a 2-0 lead in any playoff series have gone on to advance to the next round. Secondly, only one team in the modern era, the Dwyane Wade-led Miami Heat, has managed to rally back from that deficit to win the NBA title. And thirdly, none of those teams had to go up against one that set the all-time record for wins in a season and had a unanimous MVP like the Warriors do.
However, if there’s a way for them to rebound, Phil Jackson has an idea. While speaking at an event with Shaquille O’Neal on Monday, he mentioned that the Cavaliers need LeBron James to become like Michael Jordan when his Bulls were down 0-2 against the Knicks in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals – if they have any chance of getting themselves out of this hole.
“I think it’s going to take something for LeBron to step into that,” Jackson said. “Put his cape on and say, ‘I’m going to have to take over a lot of this series, doing the things beyond my level or my normal capacity.'”
The problem? James doesn’t want to be compared to Jordan — or Muhammad Ali, as a matter of fact, who James paid tribute to earlier in the week. Instead, James told media members on Tuesday that he’s going to stay true to himself no matter the situation, even if Cleveland’s lengthy championship drought depends on it.
“I think for me to go out and be who I am and play as true to the game and as hard as I can and try to lead this team, that’s who I am,” James said. “Not anybody else. I’m not Michael. I’m not Ali. I’m not nobody else that’s done so many great things for sport. I am who I am, and if I’m able to go out and put together a game like that, it wasn’t because I was possessed. It’s because I worked on my craft all season long and that’s the result of it.”
We’ll soon find out if that’s enough to debunk history.