INDIANAPOLIS -- Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade believes that no matter how many different things LeBron James accomplishes in his career, trying to surpass Michael Jordan's legacy is a fool's errand.
"No, it's not possible," Wade told ESPN with a laugh. "It's not possible."
Wade is in a unique position within the context of the comparisons between James and Jordan. He won two of his three NBA championships playing alongside James -- one of his closest friends -- with the Miami Heat. As a kid growing up in the Chicago area, Wade was a Bulls fan and watched Jordan rack up six championships, earning the respect of millions around the globe.
"The only thing you can do is tie it," Wade said. "There's no 19th hole."
The golf reference came about after Wade was reminded of a 2012 interview with ESPN in which he used a golf analogy to compare James to Jordan.
"I don't know if [James] has the ability to surpass him or not," Wade said at the time. "That's yet to be seen. My version as LeBron being on par with Michael is this: They're both on the golf course. Michael's on the 18th hole; LeBron is somewhere on like the fourth hole. He's got a long way to go, but he's on par to get to the 18th hole.
"I think everyone knows that [James] is a phenomenal, phenomenal player. He's one that we haven't seen, with the makeup of a 6-8 guy who runs as fast as any point guard, jumps as high as any center, and has the ability that he has to do so many things. But Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, that's who everyone shoots for. So it's going to be hard to surpass that."
Four years later, Wade's stance hasn't changed much.
"I think last year -- not only in my eyes, but in a lot of people's eyes -- really put him ... he's on the 15th hole right now," Wade said of James. "And he's on his way, for sure."
Wade said he and James haven't discussed the comparisons to Jordan's legacy, but Wade's sentiments match up with comments James has made in terms of how he is perceived among the game's greats.
"My motivation," James told Sports Illustrated over the summer, after winning his third title, "is this ghost I'm chasing. The ghost played in Chicago."
Wade wore a big smile as he entertained the comparison questions.
"You can't go past it," Wade said of Jordan's legacy. "How can you? That's as great as it gets, man. The only thing you can do, like I said, is be A-1, A-B. There's no way higher."