Skip to main content

Matt Barnes criticizes LeBron James' leadership: "Michael Jordan probably would have been fighting his teammates"

Barnes thinks MJ or Kobe would never allow his team to sink like LeBron
MJ's leadership style was much tougher than LeBron's.

MJ's leadership style was much tougher than LeBron's.

The Lakers' 2021-22 season has been a complete disaster and the toll of the blame has fallen on LeBron James's shoulders. Despite having some of the best individual numbers of his career, LeBron has failed to make his team work together or get them fired up. That has drawn a lot of criticism from fans and people around the NBA world, as Matt Barnes thinks the leadership is non-comparable to the level of greats like MJ or Kobe.

Different mentality

This failure of a season that was announced to be a championship hunt diminished LeBron's legacy and the GOAT case, naturally stirring up the conversations about how Jordan and Kobe wouldn't allow for this to happen.

Former NBA player and ESPN analyst Matt Barnes talked about this topic and explained the difference in the mentality between these greats:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"You look at someone like a Kobe Bryant. When I've seen him personally get in people's faces and just cuss them out until they're damn near in tears, and they're grown men. Michael Jordan probably would have been fighting his teammates if he had to see some of the stuff that these guys do."

Matt Barnes, NBA On ESPN

LeBron has always been criticized for not having that killer mentality, unlike MJ or Kobe. Jordan has been notorious for tormenting his teammates and expecting them to be on their absolute best while letting them know about it. "The Last Dance" documentary showed that in all its glory.

Kobe also got notorious for demanding the best out of his team and being a true leader. Matt Barnes, who had the chance to play alongside Kobe for a few years, knows all about that. But LeBron, on the other hand, has always been a bit softer in that department.

Leadership differences

It's more than just shying away from taking the game over and scoring, but rather facilitating around the team and having no problem of setting up a teammate for a clutch shot -- something you would rarely see from Jordan or Kobe in the clutch.

But that also translates to the off-court stuff and leadership. Sure, LeBron is the vocal leader in the locker room, but it seems he gave up halfway through the season instead of trying to uplift their spirits and maybe make some kind of a run. If not by being friendly, at least maybe holding them accountable and putting fear into the young guys.

But LeBron instead chose to pad his stats a bit towards the end, load manage, and sit out when he needs, rather than possibly willing his team at least into the play-in, similar to what Kobe did back in 2013. But once again, it's just proven how LeBron is not really comparable to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant in more aspects than just pure talent and skill.

bill-russell-shaq-min

Bill Russell once explained how he would defend Shaq: "He has to carry that weight up and down!"

A duel between the most dominant big man ever and the best defensive player in history would be a true showdown.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Most epic on-court trash talk moments caught on camera

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all dropped epic lines to hush their foes.

Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks

One-hit wonder — whatever happened to Houston Rockets’ Aaron Brooks?

Aaron Brooks played like an All-Star player in 2009-2010 season. However, his performances dipped due to injuries and alleged attitude problems.

Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller, Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, Scottie Pippen forward Chicago Bulls

Reggie Miller on why Scottie Pippen was the X-Factor in the Bulls' NBA Finals wins against the Jazz

Scottie Pippen has literally contained the best point guards in NBA history.

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center David Robinson and center Kevin Willis

”We might not want to grab him” - Kevin Willis says Tim Duncan and David Robinson hesitated to throw him into a pool when he first arrived in San Antonio

Former San Antonio Spurs center Kevin Willis recalled his hilarious and epic first meeting with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“There are many days I don't want to be around people and I'm a nasty person” — Michael Jordan opens up about why he doesn’t like showing himself to the public

Throughout his playing days, Michael Jordan hinted why he prefers to stay away from the public spotlight, and true enough, he carries that persona in retirement.

ben-simmons-russell-westbrook-min

Ben Simmons gets heated after a fan roasts him to his face: "Hey Russell Westbrook! Can't shoot bro?"

The comedian known for clowning NBA players went up to Simmons at the mall, but the Nets star was not having it.