LeBron James vs Michael Jordan

LeBron James vs Michael Jordan

by Omar Mussehl


At the age of 32, LeBron has more than cemented that he is one of the all-time greats. He is incessantly compared to Michael Jordan, a ghost he continually chases, and someone whom he shares a number with.

Both are very different players from different generations of basketball. LeBron is a pass first point-forward, with the vision of Magic Johnson and the strength and athleticism that is unparalleled. Michael Jordan was a score-first player, who dominated on both sides of the court, and most importantly never lost in the finals. Comparing the two is like seeing if Batman could beat Spiderman in a battle, however they are in different comic universes so we’ll never know.

If LeBron’s career were to end suddenly, he would finish with 3 championships, 8 trips to the finals, 4 season MVPs, 11 All-NBA First Teams, 5 All-Defensive First Teams, 1 scoring title, and rookie of the year. Jordan in comparison has 6 championships in 6 attempts, 5 season MVPs, 10 All-NBA Firsts, 9 All-Defensive first teams, 1 defensive player of the year, 10 scoring titles, and a rookie of the year. However, by looking at these accolades they are very similar in what they have accomplished. You must take into consideration many factors; James should have 5 MVPs. If it wasn’t for people getting tired of LeBron being so good and going to the Heat, it wouldn’t have gone to Derrick Rose at the time. LeBron also played finals without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in 2015 and single-handedly pushed the Warriors to 6 games. In those finals, he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the 2015 Finals. He finished this year’s with averages of 33.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, becoming the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals. Another knock against Jordan’s legacy was that he lost early many times in the playoffs, making the finals 6 out of 13 attempts in the playoffs. LeBron is 8 out of 12.

Using a simple rating system, Jordan’s teams were the top team in the league; 5 out of 6 times they went into the finals. Clearly, they were considered the favorites and thus won them all. LeBron has faced the top team 5 times, including the last 4 years. He did lose to the Mavericks in 2011, who were ranked as the 8th best team compared to his 1st with Miami. He’s been the underdog many times, so of course, LeBron was not expected to win. He has defied odds, and last season beat the Warriors in 7 who finished the season as the best team ever. LeBron has a massive challenge ahead of him, beating the Warriors. If he is able to beat the Durant and Curry led Warriors next season, he can cement his name right next to or even above Jordan’s. Jordan never had a rival as good as the warriors with 2 MVP players, one of the best shooters of all time, and one of the best defensive players. Jordan faced Karl Malone and John Stockton, but clearly, they are not on the Warriors level.

lebronTake it how you want, it is tough to say who simply the best is. LeBron is better at making his teammates better and has countlessly passed the ball to his teammate instead of taking the final shot for himself. He has averaged 7 assists a game to Jordan’s 5.3. Jordan would be the one to take the final shot, I mean he was also the best at closing games. Jordan is one of 2 players (Wilt Chamberlin) to average over 30 points a game for his career. LeBron, not a scorer by hearing has still managed to put up 27 for his career. LeBron is amazing at getting teams into the NBA finals and he will surely go to a few more by the time his career ends. LeBron is the ultimate team player making everyone around him better. He can also take over games, and will his team to victory. Both are special but LeBron is only 32. He could have 8 more years if he stays healthy. We cannot take LeBron for granted, he is the Jordan of this current generation, and to watch him play is to experience greatness before our eyes.

In my honest opinion, I would take LeBron over Jordan for all the reasons stated above. Basketball is a team sport and a person who makes everyone else better to me is the best player. I would rather play with LeBron than with Jordan because LeBron would know how to use my strengths and weaknesses. Jordan would just take over the game. It’s different, it’s tough, and it’s close but I lean slightly towards LeBron. There might be a generation bias, but still, I think he is something special.