Lebron James v.s Michael Jordan: Putting an End to the Greatest of All Time Debate

Nicholas Bisulca, Editor-in-Chief

Who’s the GOAT? Well, in soccer, it’s Lionel Messi; in baseball, it’s Babe Ruth; in boxing, it’s Muhammed Ali; and in Basketball, it’s… debatable. 

Now, before you get angry, let’s get one thing straight: Space Jam 1 was much better than Space Jam 2. There’s no argument on who’s the better actor. However, Lebron James passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in all-time points has strengthened Lebron’s case as the greatest basketball player of all time. So, let’s break down who’s better where. 

Michael Jordan played in the NBA between 1984-2003 and took a few years off on two different occasions. He played in an era of basketball characterized by defense, and lenient refs allowed for more aggressive play. On the other hand, Lebron James has been playing in the NBA since 2003, where players’ focus has shifted towards a more offensive game, making greater use of the 3-point line. Jordan played in the NBA for 15 seasons, while James has played for 20 seasons so far. Jordan has won six NBA championships, and James has won four. Both players have won four regular-season MVP awards, but Jordan has won nine more scoring titles than Lebron.

Lebron James teamed up with retired Michael Jordan at Jordan’s annual summer camp at UC-Santa Barbara in 2003. (Courtesy of @SSDBurner_ on Instagram)

When it comes to playing styles, Jordan was known for his incredible scoring ability and his tenacious defense. He was a master of the mid-range jumper, and his ability to score in clutch moments was unparalleled. MJ assisted on nearly 25% of his teammate’s baskets when he was on the court, which made him one of the best playmakers in the NBA at the time. 

James, conversely, is known for his all-around game. He is an excellent scorer but also a great passer and rebounder. He can play multiple positions, and his versatility makes him a nightmare for opposing teams. Even at 38 years old, he can be considered one of the faster players in the NBA. James is also the only player in the history of the NBA to be Ranked in the Top 100 for points, assists, rebounds, blocks, three-pointers, and steals.

Another area of comparison is their impact and influence. Michael Jordan is widely credited with popularizing the sport, and his brand, Jordan, has become one of the most recognizable in the world. Being cut from his high school team, then working to play in the NBA, MJ’s youth inspiration is undeniable. However, Lebron James is a strong social figure, and he’s used his platform for good. Off the court, he’s known for his philanthropic work and social activism. Lebron has also been featured in many memes, due to his habit of reading the first pages of books and for his love for ‘Taco Tuesday.’ 

Jordan’s competitive spirit, his mental toughness, and his unwavering focus on winning were other things that set him apart from other players. Jordan was a winner, and he demanded excellence from himself and his teammates. His drive to be the best is what propelled him to greatness.

Despite the many similarities and differences between these two players, one thing is clear: Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time. Jordan’s six NBA championships, ten scoring titles, and his clutch performances in key moments give him an edge over James. In conclusion, while LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan remains the undisputed GOAT.