A-Rod: I see me in LeBron

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
6:47
PM ET
Miami Heat fan Alex Rodriguez said he felt a kinship with LeBron James on Thursday night.

James, like A-Rod, is one of the best players of all time in his sport, but faced plenty of scrutiny before winning a championship. Like A-Rod did in '09, James just led his team to a title for the first time.

"It always seems like when you do it, you have to earn it," Rodriguez said. "My mother always told me, 'If you're going to do it you're going to have to earn it,' and I think he did that. He averaged close to a triple-double."

James seemed just as relieved on Thursday night as Rodriguez did in '09.

"I know exactly how he felt, and I was very happy for him and I know he's going to take a deep breath now and really enjoy the rest of his career," Rodriguez said. "We probably haven't seen the best of him and I think we will now."

After talking so much about hoops, A-Rod didn't feel like himself anymore.

"I feel like Stephen A. Smith here talking about basketball," Rodriguez said.

Ultimately, A-Rod thinks the championship will change the LeBron narrative.

"I already said last week [on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show"] that playing the villain is never fun," Rodriguez said. "It is tiring. It is definitely not what it is built up to be. I think everything changed in '09. I really had a chance to enjoy the game again, more so now, then ever. Even your struggles -- this is a great game. Sometimes when you struggle, you still have to figure out this great game."
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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