LeBron James creating his own legacy

Miami Heat forward LeBron James reacts to a

Miami Heat forward LeBron James reacts to a play during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Arena. (Feb. 10, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

HOUSTON -- The NBA All-Star Game appears headed to New York in two years, not long after LeBron James turns 30. But he won't be celebrated the way Michael Jordan has been this weekend for hitting the big Five-Oh.

In another 22 years, James might come close, though.

Jordan is widely considered the best player of all time and James is far and away the best player in the game now. If he can win more championships, James could surpass Jordan as the best ever.

"I want to maximize the gifts I've been given and go out there and showcase it to the world every night I step on the floor," James said before Sunday night's All-Star Game. "I believe that if I do that each and every night, I'm going to put myself in a position where I can be the greatest of all time and I'm not going to worry about where I'm ranked by experts or non-experts that we so-called have in this sport."

James was asked who is on the list ahead of him.

"There's a few names there," he said.

He wouldn't share, but he regards Jordan as the greatest. James idolized him growing up and continually has praised Jordan for what he's meant to him, the game of basketball and sports in general.

But that doesn't mean James agrees with everything Jordan says.

Jordan said he would take Kobe Bryant over James because he has four more rings. James' response was that he doesn't think players should be measured by rings because numerous circumstances go into winning.

But James has put himself in position to close the gap between himself and Bryant and Jordan, who won six championships.

James and the defending champion Heat are gearing up for another title run. He led them to seven straight wins before the break, averaging 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists and shooting 69 percent in those games.

James scored 224 points and took only 116 shots in the seven games. By comparison, Carmelo Anthony took 116 shots in the Knicks' last five games and scored 148 points.

"You got to praise him," Anthony said. "You have to. He's having games he's shooting 80 percent, 90 percent. That's a hot streak I never saw anything like that."

Knicks center Tyson Chandler added: "He's played out of his mind. We need to take a step back and appreciate what LeBron's doing right now. He's almost playing flawless right now. It's unfathomable."

James can opt out of his contract in 2014. There is a growing belief that he could leave Miami, return to Cleveland and team with All-Star teammate Kyrie Irving. But James' focus right now is on this season and trying to prove he can win another championship.

As much as he contends players shouldn't be measured by rings, James knows he has to win more before he's revered the way Jordan and Bryant are.

James is similar to Jordan in the way he does it all and controls the game on both ends. But James is far different because of his combination of size, speed, strength and point guard skills in a power forward's body.

Now that he's improved his shooting and looks as though he could win some more championships, he's being compared to Jordan more.

"I tweeted it the other day that I'm not MJ, I'm LJ, and that's what it's about," James said. "There will never be another Michael Jordan, and I'm trying to make my mark where there will never be another me. If there is, I will be happy to see it."

That's unfathomable.

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