When in talks about the greatest of all time in the terms of basketball, the immediate name that comes up is Michael Jordan every time.
With Lebron James winning his fourth title on Oct. 11 against the Miami Heat, the Lebron James vs Michael Jordan debate has once again kicked into high gear as James begins to close in on Jordan’s six championships. The debate can go on for centuries as there are so many different accolades to dispute between the two men. For starters both Jordan and James played in two different eras of basketball yet both men have accomplished so much.
Currently, Jordan beats James in the championship category as Jordan has six rings to James’ now fourth ring after the Lakers championship. Jordan also won the finals most valuable player award each of the six times he won the championship. Unfortunately, James has only won four finals MVPs but has reached the NBA finals a total of 10 times in his career.
Ferris sophomore guard Ben Davidson explained his view on the James vs Jordan debate.
“There was only been one person ever to lead the league in scoring, win MVP, be first-team all-defense, and win the NBA finals, and these are four impossible things, and his name is Michael Jordan, and he has done it four times.” Davidson said.
If you want insight into the championship idea of why Jordan takes this category over James, think about this. If Kyrie Irving doesn’t hit a game-winning killer shot against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA finals of game seven, he would only have three championships, and if Chris Bosh doesn’t rebound the ball off a missed free throw and kick the ball out to the corner to Ray Allen and he doesn’t hit a game-winning three-pointer James would then only have two championships.
Either way, the stat that Jordan has as many titles as James does losses in the NBA finals is shocking. While it’s amazing to reach the finals 10 times in a career, it hurts your chances of being the G.O.A.T when you lose a championship six times. Overall, the debate of championships goes to Michael Jordan.
“Lebron’s not the G.O.A.T because he’s playing in the softest era we have ever seen in NBA basketball,” Stephen A. Smith said on an episode of First Take on Oct. 8, 2020.
With this comment from Smith, many can agree that Jordan played in the tougher time of the NBA while James is protected with more regulations to protect players and the easy calls for fouls that can be made. Jordan had to always fight and claw as more things were acceptable back in the day and continuously made incredible shots and drives to win championships and games all around. Jordan played in the most physical era of basketball as the NBA back then had fewer rules against hand-checking than in today’s version of basketball.
As you look into the era’s each player played in it also goes to show that Jordan not only played with tougher defenses and still competed as the G.O.A.T as he accomplished 10 scoring titles. James has only one scoring title in his long 17-year career. Everyone knows that James is the only player to come right out of high school to join the NBA and to debunk this it does not add to his side of the G.O.A.T debate. While Jordan spent three years in North Carolina he still completed 15 seasons in the NBA even though he took a year off to pursue a career in baseball. But, even taking time off from the game Jordan came back into the league won three of his six championships in a three-peat run and set the long-run record of 72 regular-season wins.
While it sounds like Jordan runs away with this debate, we cannot ignore the achievements that James has made. He is still playing effectively, as he is now third in all-time leading scores in the NBA only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at number one and Karl Malone in the second spot.
Davison talked about some of James’ positive attributes against Jordan.
“Lebron has two things on Michael Jordan, which is longevity and that goes more with today’s medicine and people are playing longer now and Lebron is a better passer,” Davidson said. “Lebron did come back from a 3-1 to beat the 73-9 warriors, which personally is the greatest finals win of all time.”
James has completed more points, rebounds, assists, blocks and has a higher average shooting percentage than Jordan did, however this goes back to the dilemma of playing in two different eras. James has also been on the All-NBA team 16 times to Jordan’s 11 and been on the All-Star team 16 times as Jordan was a 14-time NBA All-Star. However, Jordan was named to the All-Defense team nine time as so far James is only been All-Defensive six times.
“Lebron’s the second-best player of all time no doubt, but I do think Michael Jordan is better, while I do think it is close, I believe Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time,” Davidson said. “My favorite thing people said about this debate is that Jordan was playing electricians and mailmen however, those people were in the NBA, they were the best players in the at that time, and nobody was even close to Jordan.”
Lastly, the debate usually ends with who had more help as basketball is a team sport not an individual sport. The way to look at it goes like this, Jordan did have Scottie Pippen, but James has had Dwanye Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Ray Allen, and now today Anthony Davis. While other players have been a part of Jordans teams everyone states that Jordan needed Pippen but flip the script and look at James and you see more help with not just one all-star but multiple in James’ entire career. James has played with a total of 16 all-stars where Jordan only played with six. Therefore, throughout James’ entire career he has had more help to not only reach the NBA finals but only win four out of 10 times getting there.
“The 2011 NBA finals, people don’t talk about it enough, while Dirk and a washed-up Jason Kidd beat Lebron with his heat team that was the first super team.” Davidson said, “Jordan beat 20 all-stars in the NBA finals and Lebron only beat nine, so Michael Jordan has beaten double the amount Lebron has in the NBA finals.”
Overall, the debate can continue to go on as it should since James’ is still in the NBA today and continues to produce however until he has made more statements in the books and the championships area, he will not be able to claim the G.O.A.T status from Jordan and until James’ at least evens the column of championships won, until then there is no debate.
Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time, but the greatest athlete of all time Davidson alluded to because of what he did with the game Nike, his own brand today, and it’s just unreal that he shot some of the toughest shots and made them as he is smaller than James. Michael Jeffery Jordan is the greatest of all-time NBA basketball player as of today.