People like to choose the greatest one in everything. It refers to music, movies, and above all sports. There is almost no sport in which fans and experts do not constantly analyze who the real GOAT is. One of the rare examples is Alexander Karelin who is without a doubt the best wrestler ever because he has a score of 887 wins and two losses, both by a single point. But in all major sports, such as the NBA, NHL, NFL, soccer, tennis and many others, there is a debate about who is GOAT. And often more than two players are involved in the debate, such as in tennis where everyone is talking and Big3 made up of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer.
Still, the debate over the best player of all time is by far the most heated in the NBA. Although we could mention players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and many others, in the end everyone still gives their vote to either Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Fans of both are so passionate that they very often make irrational arguments and try to belittle one or the other which is pointless because they are both amazing basketball players, best world has ever seen. Still, we will tell our reasons why LeBron will never top Michael Jordan in the GOAT debate.
Points per game
One of the main arguments of LeBron’s fans is that he will probably end his career with the most points scored in the NBA in history, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. While this is an admirable achievement, it should not be forgotten that he came to the NBA directly from high school and that his career lasts incomparably longer than Jordan’s.
LeBron’s longevity is something unrepeatable, but much more important for GOAT debate than the total number of points scored is points per game where MJ has an edge. He has as many as 3 points more per game on average in his career than James and that will probably be even a bigger difference because LeBron scores less and less points every season. MJ will forever remain first with 30.1 points per game career average.
We can say LeBron has launched a trend of superteams. Several of the best players to agree to join the same team with the goal of winning the title has become completely commonplace today and we no longer pay attention to it, but it should not be forgotten that it first happened in 2010 when James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami.
Although he later returned to Cleveland and won the title there, it will always be remembered that he had to form a super team to reach his first titles. Even then in Cleveland he again had two all-star players around him, Irving and Love.
Of course, it is wrong to say that Jordan did not have the help of Pippen and Rodman, as in many other great players in the Bulls during the 90s, but he never changed the team to reach the title. He never teamed up with other Hall of Fame players to win even more titles, but even prevented some of them from winning it, like Barkley.
Perhaps the biggest blemish of LeBron’s career is the 2011 final defeat by Dallas. After coming to Miami with only one goal, and that was to win the title, he failed to do so in his first season.
They were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks who were outsiders in that final and the only real star was Nowitzki. After leading 2-1 in the series, Heat lost three games in a row and in those three games LeBron was invisible by his standards. Wade played the whole series significantly better than him. Defeat in the final in 2011 will always be considered the moment when LeBron choked even though he had an open path to the title.
During his tenure in Heat, they won two titles, in the next two years after defeat in 2011. finals but lost again in 2014. to Spurs. He played better against Spurs than against Mavericks, but still that wasn’t enough. If Ray Allen didn’t save Heat from defeat in Game 6 versus Spurs year earlier, LeBron’s whole tenure in Miami would be considered unsuccessful and he would live South Beach with just one title.
Career highlights and awards
In every most important category MJ has an edge. Twice as many times he was a Finals MVP, once more a MVP, Jordan has as many as 10 scoring titles while LeBron has only one. Also Jordan was once the defensive player of the year and James never. LeBron only has more appearances in All-Star matches, but that is due to a significantly longer career. While fans will always debate about it, and we’ll hear the MJ vs LeBron debate in podcasts like the FYF Sports Debates Podcast, the stats speak for themselves.
The score in the finals is something that LeBron will definitely never manage to make up for and that is why MJ will remain GOAT. Jordan has 6 appearances in the finals and has won the title all 6 times which is the best proof that he is in addition to being the best player ever, also a clutch. Just remember the famous shot against the Utah Jazz in the final.
While LeBron has 9 appearances in the finals, but only 3 titles. While defeats against Golden State can be justified because the Warriors were by far the best team in those years, as well as the defeat in the first final in 2007, other defeats are something which was his faults and will always stand as something that spoils his magnificent career.
LeBron James is still an active player so we could leave this debate somewhat open, but it is very unlikely that LeBron will be able to make as many more achievements in his career and take GOAT status from a man who is synonymous with basketball, the one and only Michael Jordan. Too many statistical and all other arguments such as the beauty of playing basketball is on the side of MJ and will remain so forever.