Phillips, who starred for England at the Euros in the summer, sees basketball legend James as someone he wants to be like as he progresses in his promising career
And he continued his meteoric rise by continuing to shine for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the top flight, earning him a shot in Gareth Southgate ‘s England team – a chance he grasped firmly with both hands.
Phillips was one of the Three Lions’ stand-out performers at Euro 2020, and is now said to be a transfer target for some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, including Manchester United and Liverpool.
As the 25-year-old gets to grips with his new standing in the global game, it seems he has adopted one of the greatest sports stars around as someone to try to emulate.
LeBron James is a four-time NBA championship winner as well as being a double gold medallist at the Olympics.
He is regularly included in the conversation about the greatest basketball players of all-time, but like some of those icons who came before him he has transcended the sport and become a world-renowned celebrity in his own right.
His business ventures, philanthropy and activism have only served to boost his international popularity, and it has set an example that Leeds lad Phillips wants to follow.
“Yeah, he’s a great basketball player – he’s arguably the best basketball player in the world,” the midfielder said.
“Obviously there is an ongoing conversation as to who’s better, but I’ve just been watching his career unfold. I’ve watched a lot of videos about him on YouTube.
“I want to be like him. I want to be as professional as him – I want to be exactly like him.”
Meanwhile, having missed most of October through injury, Phillips returned to Premier League action for Leeds in the Whites’ 2-1 win over Norwich City on Sunday.
He played the full 90 minutes in midfield as the Yorkshire club heaped further misery upon Daniel Farke, whose side is rock bottom of the table and is yet to win since returning to the top flight.
The result is a boost for Leeds, though, who have also endured a difficult start to the season amid a swathe of injuries to key players, but now have their second victory of the season at the expense of the Norfolk side.