I thought that everyone here had believed MJ was the greatest. However, there are still a lot of people that don’t. I’m going to break down why MJ is better than LeBron.
MJ by far has a better legacy. His Space Jam was better, and he is more commonly known as the GOAT. He has left such an impact on those who have watched him play. He was so great at everything, he had no holes. Anyone who watched basketball in the 90’s thinks MJ is the GOAT. Also, LeBron’s Space Jam was much worse because while MJ’s had a simple plot, LeBron has a conflict with his son that he needs to turn around ON TOP OF a basketball game to win. MJ just had to win a game, and it was so simple and great. Anyway, MJ left more of a mark on the league that everyone began searching for the next MJ right after he retired. They missed multiple times with Harold Miner, Grant Hill, etc.
This is overall shooting, not just 3’s. MJ was a career 85% free throw shooter (all the stats I will say are on the top of my head btw), while LeBron on his career has been average at 75%. MJ was inconsistent from 3, but that wasn’t a huge part of his shooting game, and it wasn’t a big part of anyones so it didn’t matter much. He also had a stretch where he shot really well. LeBron is an average three point shooter, but he’s getting above average more recently. He also shoots a lot more. It’s really close, I’ll give the edge to LeBron probably.
So, I don’t normally try to use winning as a factor, but it’s inevitable, especially in GOAT conversations. LeBron supporters will use the argument of worse teammates. I say Wade and Bosh. Plus Ray Allen. I’m not convinced he would’ve gone back to Cleveland if a) the Heat won the championship, and b) the Cavs didn’t get a good draft pick. He needs to be surrounded by good teammates to win. That’s why he had to leave Cleveland the first time. Also, I have a conspiracy theory, that LeBron left Cleveland the first time knowing they’d be bad and get good draft picks so he could come back and have good teammates. Anyway, MJ clearly won more. His teams were consistently contenders. He won more championships, 6 to 4. While LeBron went to more finals, does it even matter if you don’t capitalize? By the way, I do not value championships in GOAT conversation, but for the sake of this exercise I did. Winning doesn’t matter without context (thanks Grantula).
Both are pretty good playmakers. LeBron is better, by a pretty big margin. He has better IQ by a lot, and is a lot better passer. LeBron is such a good playmaker that the Lakers put Russell Westbrook in the corner, which he is, to put it lightly, not very comfortable shooting that far. MJ was never the point on his teams.
Longevity and Peak
I don’t like to use these either much when evaluating players. However, again, for the sake of the exercise I have them here. I like to evaluate players based on how good they are, not how their career ended up. This doesn’t mean I would have Derrick Rose or Bernard King in my top 50 all time. Longevity and peak still matter. First, longevity. LeBron averaged at least 20 points per game every year of his career. Besides his rookie season, he averaged 25 PPG every year. MJ doesn’t have terrible longevity, but it’s not what LeBron’s is. LeBron at 38 is still playing at a very high level. LeBron wins. For peak, Jordan easily wins. He was so crazy dominant in his peak, he won lots of MVPs but he should have more (voter fatigue). He was averaging 37 per game in his peak. LeBron had a good peak, don’t get me wrong, but it was nowhere near MJ’s. LeBron only averaged over 30 once.
Edge: LeBron for longevity, Jordan for peak
Both were very good finishers. MJ is one of the greatest dunkers of alll time and can hang in the air for ages to make whatever move he wants. He is a very flashy finisher for sure and makes it look easy. However, LeBron’s one of the best finishers of all time. I’m giving the edge to him.
One reason Jordan is so great, is because he is great on both ends of the floor. I love guys like that. He has great toughness and will to win. Jordan won a defensive player of the year award! That’s crazy considering he was comfortably the best offensive player of the year. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron was no slouch on defense (he is now). However, Jordan was a lot better. LeBron’s more versatile on defense because he can guard 1-5 while Jordan can guard like 1-3. Jordan, in my opinion, was just so much better at perimeter defense that it doesn’t matter he can’t guard bigs well. It’s a close margin on this one.
What’s the word for it? That doesn’t look right. Anyway, this basically means, if you need a basket, who do you want with the ball in their hands. The answer is for sure Jordan. While LeBron has made some big shots, Jordan WILL NOT MISS if he needs to make it. LeBron is afraid of failure, and that has led to failure multiple times. Jordan has hit lots of huge shots like “The Shot”, “Last Shot”, and had legendary games like “Flu Game”. The Last Dance made countless NBA fans come to the light side. It made most of the casual NBA fans learn who was really the GOAT. Anyway, if you need someone to make the shot, choose Jordan 11/10 times over anyone else. Also, according to ESPN, 76% of NBA fans picked Jordan to take the final shot over LeBron.
Who do y’all think is the GOAT? Also get out if you think it’s anyone else. At least with LeBron it’s a debate. Bill didn’t have enough scoring for him to be in the argument, and his game wouldn’t translate to today’s NBA. West only won one championship, he’s out easily. Wilt needed to win more and maybe pass the ball. Kareem should’ve won on the pre-Magic Lakers, maybe he would be in it if Kareem’s teams weren’t very mediocre without a top-20 player.
All stats courtesy of my amazing memory unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved. Don’t copy and paste the entire thing and claim as your own (that actually happened to me once). ©