When I tell you that this debate follows me like my shadow, I’m not speaking in hyperbole. I’m sick and tired of people going back and forth over this ridiculous topic. And what makes it worst is that the people who usually are the most adamant about it, base their opinions off of emotions and not logic. Either they’re LeBron lovers, LeBron haters, or even Jordan haters.
Now I know my luck is not that good that all LeBron vs. Jordan arguments will cease after I write this, but please do me a favor and read why you must stop trying to compare LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
1) They are two different types of players
One of the key reasons why you can’t compare LeBron to Jordan is because they are not the same type of player to begin with. LeBron James is more in the Magic Johnson mold than the Jordan mold. At 6’8 LeBron is almost identical in height to Magic, his passing ability is comparable to Magic’s, and like Magic he can fall out of bed and get a triple double on any given night. The major difference between the two is that LeBron is by far a superior scorer than Magic.
Jordan on the other hand is two inches shorter than LeBron and almost 60 pounds lighter. Jordan’s style of play was heavy on his exceptional offensive skillset, whereas LeBron’s style is one where he physically dominates his opponents.
Jordan was always in a score first mentality; LeBron can switch between score first or pass first, whichever was the best option in a given situation.
The best way to look at it in my opinion is LeBron is a hybrid of both Jordan and Magic put together.
2) They don’t have the same responsibilities
Another thing to keep in mind is that neither of the two had the same role on their respective teams. Jordan’s primary role on the Chicago Bulls was to just score. Early on in his career he did take on a role of play-maker for the Bulls (averaging a career high eight assist in his 5th season), but for the bulk of his career Jordan’s main function was to get buckets.
LeBron on the other hand has always had the role of scorer/play-maker; a Point Forward if you will. So in addition to getting his 25-30 points, LeBron also had to get 7-9 assist to go along with that.
Defensively their roles are slightly different as LeBron periodically would be tasked with guarding the other team’s best player, which when you factor in his size and strength it is easier for him to matchup up with 4 out of the 5 positions on the floor. Jordan on the other hand had the luxury of playing with Scottie Pippen, who happens to be one of the best defensive players in NBA history, and Pippen would guard the other team’s best player most of the time.
With all that being said, you can argue Jordan to be the better player defensively given that statistically he averages more steals, averages the same number of blocks (even though he’s two inches shorter), has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team more than LeBron has up to now, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award which LeBron has not.
3) NOBODY should be compared to Jordan
This whole LeBron vs. Jordan debate is one that shouldn’t be occurring in the first place. From my perspective Jordan is the G.O.A.T., point blank period. He is the greatest offensive weapon the NBA has ever seen. He’s the must clutch player ever. He’s the epitome of greatness; not just in the NBA, but in all of professional team sports. In fact, his name is probably brought up the most when you speak of the greatest athletes of all-time.
Now I’m sure somebody can throw some advance statistics out there that can paint a picture of LeBron being better; but cherry picking what statistics you want to use to help you win a debate won’t fly around here.
With Jordan you can utilize statistics AND the eye test to draw what should be a very easy conclusion; he’s the best man to ever set foot on a basketball court.
We can bring up rings, scoring championships, his Finals record, whatever. Whatever angle you want to approach this discussion by, the end result will be that Jordan sits atop of the mountain. But all of this going back and forth is rather futile, which brings us to our next point……
4) Just shut up and enjoy what they both have done
Let me make it clear that I like and respect both Michael Jordan and LeBron James. I’m not sure why but it seems this day and age people find it difficult to like two or more players of the same sport. News Flash folks, it won’t kill you to actually just shut the F up and enjoy what you’re seeing.
For those of us who were fortunate enough to witness Jordan play in his prime, there hasn’t been anything like him prior to him or since his retirement. He completely transcended sports and probably was, and still is, the most popular human being on the planet. Hell, as I’m writing this millions of people are still wearing his signature Nike sneakers (including me as I’m wearing a pair of the Jordan 14s at this very moment).
I can go on and on about the accolades of Michael Jordan; but for those of you who either miraculously forgot how great he was, or were not alive when he was playing in his prime, do yourself a favor and YouTube some Michael Jordan footage and get back to me.
And as far as LeBron James, just sit back and enjoy what we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing since his rookie season in 2003. There has never been a combination of size, strength, and agility in a basketball player ever.
What LeBron is doing, and how long he has done it, is truly remarkable. You’re not going to have many instances where a man in his early 30’s is still the best player in the league. He’s had the most hype out of any athlete ever coming into his professional career, and he has surpassed the hype exponentially.
You would be a fool not to have him in at least your top five greatest basketball players ever, and I can possibly go a step further and say he should be in your top three all-time. When it’s all said and done he could possibly be the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
So take a chill pill and stop the silly comparisons. Just be glad that you were lucky enough to see two of the best in their sport play.