How in the world are the Cavaliers going to be able to rebound from an 0-2 deficit to climb back into their NBA Finals matchup with the Warriors? As Cleveland prepares for Game 3 of the series, which will take place Wednesday night, that’s the question that everyone both inside and outside of the Cavs’ organization is trying to answer. And it’s the question that Phil Jackson was asked during an American Express event that he attended with Shaquille O’Neal on Monday night.
Jackson said he believes it is possible for the Cavs to overcome the 0-2 hole they face. But in order to do it, he thinks they’re going to need LeBron James to perform like Michael Jordan did back in 1993 when the Bulls faced an 0-2 deficit heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Knicks.
“It did something to Michael Jordan,” Jackson said. “You learned something about pulling the cape of Superman. It’s not a good idea. He was a man possessed after that.”
MJ and the Bulls went on to win four straight games against the Knicks, and ultimately, they won the NBA title that year. LeBron himself isn’t buying into the comparison that Jackson made, though. On Tuesday, he was asked to respond to what Jackson said, and he told reporters that he is not MJ. Or Muhammad Ali. Or any of the other superstar athletes that people like Jackson try to compare him to.
“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,” he 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.”
LeBron added: “Phil’s a great coach. Mike’s a great player. But I am who I am.”
Will it be enough for the Cavs to overcome the adversity they’re facing in the Finals? That will be determined on Wednesday night.
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