Former Cavs Coach Takes Veiled Shot at LeBron James While Discussing Michael Jordan

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The dicey relationship between LeBron James and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is likely to gain more attention after Blatt made comments about how Michael Jordan is “bigger” than James.

Blatt’s remarks were made on Partner TV, as part of a panel offering their thoughts on the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance,” which focuses on Jordan’s days with the Chicago Bulls.

“Michael Jordan is bigger than LeBron James,” Blatt said. “He won the most championships with one single team and did not focus on the ‘I’ but on the ‘us.’ But surely, in terms of ability and influence, they are both included in the top five best players in history.”

Jordan’s Bulls teams captured six NBA titles, compared to James’ three championships, two of which came with the Miami Heat.

However, Blatt undoubtedly focuses his attention on the 2016 championship that James and the Cavs won, considering that Blatt’s successor, Tyronn Lue, was serving as head coach at the time. Blatt was shockingly fired by the Cavaliers just five months before, a controversial move that came with the team in first place.

During his 123 regular-season games as head coach of the Cavs, Blatt compiled an 83-40 record (.732) and had coached the team into the 2015 NBA Finals.

In that 2015 finals, Blatt’s team was already missing Kevin Love due to injury and then lost Kyrie Irving after Game 1. Despite a virtual one-man performance by James, the Cavs fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

When Blatt was fired, immediate speculation focused on James’ alleged role in the dismissal, though then-general manager David Griffin took great pains to dismiss that idea when he fired Blatt.

Blatt’s comments will likely be taken as a slap at James by some, but it’s clear that he respects James’ status among the greatest players ever. James is not likely to offer any public remarks, though he’s likely to offer his thoughts in more private settings.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.