#Opinion Who’s the Greatest: Michael Jordan or LeBron James? 

Michael Jordan is known as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) he was an amazing highlight every single night he played. He was an undeniable scoring machine, setting the playoff record for points in only his 2nd season; he scored 63 points. LeBron James is known as King James and he is what many people, especially the younger people of today would claim to be the greatest or at least the one who can truly challenge Jordan’s legacy. LeBron is known as a “pass-first player”, but yet he’s already the all-time playoff scoring leader in total points (passing Jordan). So who is the greatest?

Let’s dive deeper into the conversation. LeBron James is a force to be wrecking with, at 6’8 250 pounds with the speed of a smaller player, the NBA has never seen a player like him. He’s also one of the greatest all-around players of all time, to prove that fact is a feat he accomplished earlier this year. He became the first player in NBA history to have 30,000 plus points, 8000 rebounds, and 8000 assists. That is an incredible feat to accomplish, plus he’s 33 years old and hasn’t shown a sign of slowing down. The man’s been to 7 straight finals, also an incredible feat. LeBron James’ 2016 NBA finals to me was the greatest performance in finals history. His team was down 3-1 to the record-setting 73-9 Warriors and LeBron went into beast mode, he led the Cavaliers back to a game 7 and with the help of a game-winning shot from Kylie Irving; he led them to their first-ever championship. LeBron led both teams in points, assist, rebounds, steals, blocks… incredible.

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My opinion on the greatest finals performance before LeBron’s 2016 finals was Michael Jordan’s 1993 finals where he averaged a finals record 41 points, and he also averaged 8.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Now Michael Jordan took over in the NBA during what I believe to be the toughest Era to play in; mid-80s to mid-90s. The rules were different, you could basically beat up your opponent and it would be nothing but a common foul. Not like today where you look at another player wrong and you could get hit with a technical. Michael Jordan in his third full season averaged an incredible 37.1 points per game. To follow that up he came back with one of the greatest, if not the greatest regular season ever in 1988, averaging 35 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assist, 3.2 steals and 1.6 blocks. Oh, Michael not only won the MVP that year but he also won the defensive player year. Jordan led the league in steals 3 times while LeBron never has. Michael Jordan was the greatest guard defender of all time in my opinion, but a lot of people overlook that fact. Jordan scored 50 or more points 31 times in his career, 2nd most behind Wilt Chamberlain and 8 times in his playoff career, an NBA record.

Michael Jordan has 10 scoring titles (NBA record, to LeBron’s 1). Michael Jordan won 5 regular season MVPs to LeBron’s 3. Of course, the main thing Jordan backer love to bring up is the finals record. Jordan 6-0 in the NBA finals and 6 NBA finals MVPs. LeBron 3-5 in finals and when they won he won the MVP every time, so he has 3. To me, I like to dip a little deeper than just those numbers. Now the overall greatest finals performance belongs to LeBron in my eyes but the greatest finals game is no question in my mind goes to Michael Jordan.

1997 game 5 Jordan came down with the apparent flu (turns out it was food poison). Jordan looked best up, lost, sick out of his mind but yet he outplayed his running mate Scottie Pippen, he outplayed the two other Hall of Fame players John Stockton and Karl Malone. Jordan scored 38 points and hit the go-ahead 3 to win the game… incredible. Now with LeBron, I personally don’t even look at the fact he lost 5 times in the finals I only look at one of those losses… 2011 vs the Mavericks. LeBron just destroyed the MVP of that season Derrick Rose in the east finals and his Heat team was the overwhelming favorite to win. LeBron choked, he disappeared, he got outplayed by older bench players on the Mavs. LeBron only averaged 17.8 points a game, including 8 points in game 4.

To me, the best player ever cannot have a performance like that on the biggest stage, and that was his second finals appearance, so he can’t use inexperience as an excuse. Outside of basketball, LeBron has given his voice to social issues that Jordan never spoke upon which is a plus for LeBron. But even with the advantages of social media, getting exposure, LeBron still doesn’t even come close to the impact Michael Jordan had in the world. He was the biggest athlete ever, his finals games still have the highest ratings of all time (LeBron’s 2007 finals vs Spurs is the lowest watched finals ever). Everyone remembers the ‘If I could be like Mike’ jingle, Mike was the master of endorsements.

 

by Travis Frey

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