LBJ vs. MJ

Michael Jeffrey Jordan is an icon. He revolutionized what it means to be a sports superstar. He took the whole world by storm, and made the NBA the global game that it is today. His competitive fire and remarkable skills led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in the 1990s. He was given the title of greatest of all time, or G.O.A.T for short, and he has held that title ever since.

Many NBA fans knew that someone would come along that was better than Jordan, and a lot of Jordan fans hoped it would be past their lifetime, but that is not the case for most. Now we enter LeBron Raymone James, the 6’8, 250 pound machine from Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James had all the hype in the world surrounding him from the time he was 15 years old. The basketball world dubbed him “The Chosen One,” which is a tattoo James has across his back. LeBron was and is still the most dominant high school basketball player in history, and that made him the number one pick straight out of high school.

LeBron was sensational the minute he stepped into the NBA, delivering a 25-point, 9-assist, 6-rebound performance in his first career game in 2003. He failed to win a title his first seven years in Cleveland, though he did win two Most Valuable Player awards in 2009 and 2010 with the team. His move to the Miami Heat would begin his chase of Jordan.

LeBron would go on to win two titles with the Heat in four years. He was Most Valuable Player twice during those four years as well. In Miami, LeBron took a massive leap in not only skill, but his mental approach, so he decided to go back home to Cleveland.

This time around, LeBron would deliver his promise of bringing a championship to his beloved home state. In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the greatest regular season team in NBA history, Golden State Warriors, in an epic 3-1 comeback. That title really propelled LeBron into Jordan’s atmosphere. With three titles to his name, the rumblings of G.O.A.T conversations began to sweep the nation.

The argument constantly used by Jordan fans is his unblemished finals record. Michael Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA finals, and he was finals MVP all six times. That is extremely impressive. Some believe he would have more if he hadn’t retired for a year after his third title, but we will never know.

LeBron has now moved onto the storied franchise of the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning his fourth title and fourth finals MVP this past season, LeBron has positioned himself to surpass Michael Jordan, and here is how.

LeBron is going to end up having the most points scored in NBA history, and he is a pass-first player. LeBron currently sits at third, already ahead of Jordan, and with a few more seasons of elite play, he will pass Kareem Abdul Jabbar for the number one spot.

The only thing LeBron really has to do to be the unanimous G.O.A.T is to catch Jordan in championships. At 4-6 right now, it isn’t impossible to get to that number, but it most likely means he has to finish this three-peat by going back-to-back the next two seasons.

The statistics are overwhelmingly in James’ favor. He leads in every single statistical category in the playoffs over Jordan, and leads in everything but steals in the regular season. It isn’t hard for me to see who the better player is, but I get why it is for some people.

Like LeBron is to me, Jordan is the childhood hero of so many that grew up in the 90s. Jordan wasn’t just basketball, he was American culture at the highest level. The most household name in American sports history is Michael Jordan, but that doesn’t blind me from the facts. LeBron is a bigger, stronger, faster version of Jordan. LeBron passes like Magic, but can score as well as anyone ever. He’s the only player ever with the combination of size and skill he possesses.

To leave you with a final note, I will say this. I know LeBron hasn’t been with one team his whole career, and I know he isn’t undefeated in the finals. He has stumbled along the way, but it seemed to make him better and mentally stronger over the years. LeBron James makes the players around him better, and whenever he leaves a team that team immediately plummets to the bottom of the NBA. No other player holds that weight. The year Jordan retired, the Bulls still made the playoffs and won a series. No one impacts a game of basketball more than LeBron, and that is what separates him from everybody, including Jordan.

In today’s social media age, LeBron has had to deal with ridicule in every little thing he says and does. From the decision, to the meltdown in Dallas, and from all the narratives that have been built to discredit him. LeBron is the perfect model of what it means to be a professional. He has never been in trouble off the court, and continues to stand for the fight to end social inequality and police brutality in this country. LeBron isn’t only a tremendous athlete, but he is also one of the large voices in America today that stands up to social problems. LeBron being vocal in his community doesn’t make him better than Jordan, but it adds to the context of what LeBron carries with him outside of basketball. With all the facts and narratives adding up, I believe LeBron Raymone James has surpassed Michael Jeffrey Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time.

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