As we learned this past Celtics season, Gerald Wallace never pulls punches. This time, he’s giving his own teammates a break from constantly calling out their effort and making the game’s best player his speed bag.
In a conversation with myfoxal.com during his annual basketball camp at Childersburg (Ala.) High, Wallace criticized LeBron James for both his handling of free agency off the court and his lack of a killer instinct on it.
“I don’t really pay attention to the offseason acquisitions or what’s going on just because of [the drama],” he said. “I think they put more attention into it than what’s needed. Their decision is no different than some of the other guys going through the same thing. It’s just their names happen to be LeBron, Carmelo [Anthony], Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, some of the superstars that are mostly seen on TV. I think that’s what makes a big deal out of it.”
Wallace’s love for Michael Jordan is no secret. A longtime Jordan Brand representative, Wallace idolized the Bulls legend and played five of his seven seasons in Charlotte under Jordan’s ownership, including one as an All-Star.
“I grew up in the ’90s,” added Wallace, whose camp t-shirt featured the Jumpman logo. “I grew up in the Jordan era. I’m a Jordan baby, and to me he will always be the greatest player that I’ve ever seen play. I had an opportunity to play against him at the end of his career, which wasn’t the same, but I’ve even played against him in practice and had an opportunity to talk to him. Watching him on TV growing up, he’s the greatest player I’ve ever seen.”
No argument there. However, Wallace’s commendation of Jordan also included a condemnation of James.
“Jordan never had an off night,” Wallace told myfoxal.com. “He found many ways to contribute to the team, and I’d say Kobe [Bryant] is pretty much the same. You can put Lebron in that category. I think what separates LeBron from Kobe and Michael Jordan right now is that he doesn’t have the attitude or the fight that those guys had. For me, he’s not willing to take over a game, demand a game or put the game all on his shoulders. I would like to see him get to that one day, but right now I don’t think he has that, and that’s what Michael Jordan and even Kobe has.”
Whether James wears a Heat or Cavaliers uniform, Wallace could ultimately find himself tasked with defending the four-time NBA MVP a few times this season, and those words may come back to haunt him. The 31-year-old will almost certainly be wearing Celtics green again this winter, even if he wished he weren’t a year ago.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was for me,” Wallace said of Boston. “Being where I’m at in my career, I think once I got there I was kind of against starting over and rebuilding a team, but being there, being a veteran, being able to help some of the young guys mature and develop themselves in the league and just given the experience that I was able to give to those guys turned out to be pretty much a good year for me. So, I was excited about it. I think I had a great time this year. I’m looking forward to going back and improving. We had [Rajon] Rondo for midway of the season, so I’m looking forward to being with him for a full season. So, it’ll be interesting this upcoming year.”
You can say that again.