Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Robert Marvi

Mario Chalmers: Nobody fears playing against LeBron James

LeBron James has been arguably the greatest NBA player of the past dozen years or so, and according to a slowly growing contingent of fans, he just may be the greatest ever.

The greatest-of-all-time debate will likely rage on forever without a clear-cut answer, but one thing is for sure: One measure of being the greatest ever in any sport is how much opponents feared competing against that player.

Buy Lakers Tickets

In the 1990s, men around the NBA were famously petrified of going up against Michael Jordan, especially since his Chicago Bulls teams were always the overwhelming favorite to win the world championship whenever he played a full season.

The same could be said of Kobe Bryant during the first decade of the 21st century.

But apparently, James hasn’t generated the same type of extreme apprehension.

Guard Mario Chalmers, who won back-to-back titles with him on the Miami Heat, said that nobody fears going up against him.

Via For The Win:

“Nobody fears Bron. Nobody’s like ‘(expletive) I gotta go play against Bron tonight.’ Nobody said that. I don’t know why. Because I seen people be scared when they actually lined up to him but they’re not scared thinking about that matchup, right? You hear anybody from that era talk about going against Jordan, there’s a fear. So when you have people that fear a player, then that’s telling you something different already. Like, Jordan is just that guy.”

James doesn’t have the same mythology that Jordan built up for himself. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Jordan was 6-0 in the NBA Finals, while James, at least thus far, is just 4-6 in the championship series.

Shaquille O'Neal agrees

O’Neal, who played against both Jordan and James (and also spent the 2009-10 season as James’ teammate), echoed Chalmers’ sentiment while talking about the Los Angeles Lakers’ failed 2021-22 season.


“Bron’s my guy, but nobody’s ever scared of LeBron. So if you’re not scared of a guy, you just have much more confidence. … They respect him, but they don’t fear him.”

Even though James is more physically gifted than Jordan or Bryant ever was, he simply lacks the killer instinct that both were infamous for. Perhaps that’s the reason players such as Chalmers and O’Neal, as well as Paul Pierce and Jaylen Brown, have gone on the record as saying people didn’t fear playing against him.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.