How does everyone judge who the Greatest Player Of All Time is? Stats, accomplishments, rings, how they dominate against their competition, or the eye-test? It should be a combination of these things but I like to ask myself one question when considering the GOAT. I think this questions answer is a pretty good indicator of who the greatest basketball player of all time is. What one player gives you the best chance to win THAT game?
If you were captain of a team for a pick-up-game, and you can choose from every player ever - in their prime, who would you pick first? I would take LeBron James.
Why I take LeBron over Jordan?
- Better and more willing passer - Despite the fact that Jordan averaged almost 12 assists per game for half a season when he was asked to take on point guard duties early in his career, LeBron is easily the better passer and will give my team a better chance to win the game because of it.
- Better defender - Yes, Jordan was an incredible defender but could he guard all 5 positions? Which brings me to my next point...
- Better athlete - Like Barkley said, "Bigger, Stronger, Faster." Can dominate the game thanks to his physical abilities like no one since maybe Wilt. But LeBron is facing much better competition and athletes compared to Wilt. You simply cannot keep LeBron from getting to the rim if he wants to. Defensively wreaks havoc all over the court and can easily guard 4 positions and 5 if he had to because he is Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Only player to not just stop, but shut down D Rose in crucial moments, and KD as well.
- Better rebounder- Enough said
- Better all-around game - Jordan is a better pure scorer but because of items listed above, LeBron is a better all-around player.
- Other reasons- He has put up HISTORIC numbers the last several seasons dominating his competition like no one before. -
People who say Jordan is better because LeBron isn't clutch haven't been watching the last several years when LeBron has hit countless big shots and taken over games in critical situations. Down 2-1 to Indiana- 40/18/9. Elimination game against Celtics - 45/15/5. James has also surpassed legends such as Larry Bird and Charles Barkley by becoming the first player to ever record at least 650 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in one playoff run. Not even the great Michael Jordan is safe—LeBron has now scored 25 or more points in 15 straight playoff games in a single postseason. No one else, not even Jordan, has ever accomplished that feat.- Gordon True, Bleacher Report.
- People also say LeBron doesn't have the mentality, or will to win like Jordan. This was maybe true very early in LeBron's career but not recently. As stated earlier he has been taking over games when he needs to and has hit countless big shots in critical situations. That mentality or lack of spirit myth is just not true about LeBron.
- People want to bash him for the decision. He was simply putting himself in the same playing field as the rest of the greats by teamming up with other greats to win championships. If he would have stayed in Cleveland and played with Mo Williams his entire career he never would have won. The first 40 NBA championship teams (1950-1990) all had an average of 3.875 Hall Of Famers on it. This trend will continue with the Bulls, Houston, Spurs, Lakers, and Miami.
I think people are crazy for not already putting LeBron #1.
So if you had first pick in a pick up game with every player ever in their prime available, who would you take with your first pick?
I agree. People put MJ on this untouchable level. Lebron is the better all around player and may give Jordan a run for his money as GOAT when his career is over but for now MJ is still at the top
But who would you take in a pick up game?
I only agree that people should not put Jordan on an untouchable pedastal. I believe that he is the GOAT at this point, but it's kind of dumb to say that nobody will ever be better.
If there's someone close to MJ in the modern NBA, and that's a big IF, it's Kobe Bryant. LeBron can get in the conversation, but he has to keep playing at this ridiculous high level for some more seasons. He is definitely not a class act (in style of basketball, I really like the guy of the court) in comparison with the likes of Kobe, MJ, Magic and Bird. It's not all about the numbers!
MJ can't defend all 5 position like LB.
But MJ is a even a greater defender at 1 to 3 spot than Lebron in my opinion. He could clamp PG/SG/Sf down like a vice grip.
I disagree. I would like to see Jordan attempt to guard both Rose and Durant. Kobe dropped 59 on him. A.I crossed him. Yes, Jordan was a great defender but LeBron is better- Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Never seen anyone trail defensively on a fast break on purpose just to make a sensational block sooooo many times.
@shooting_guard9 I gave more than numbers to defend my argument.
Also, people are to nostalgic. As humans evolve we continue to be bigger and better than our predecessors. One day a 7-footer could come along with the ball-handling, passing ability, strength, speed, and athleticism as LeBron who can shoot like Nowitzki and has the desire to win like Jordan. Then, someone 30 years later will most likely be better than that guy.
That's because when Jordan played you could hand check and rough a player up, in today's game you have to actually move your feet as any type of contact is a foul. Lebrons the better defender
is that they are too young to witness Jordan so they think Lebron is the greatest player ever in all of humanity. Take it from someone who's seen both from their rookie years to their primes so far, Jordan is better. Lebron could be in the conversation but he needs to win more championships, stop announcing his free agency decision on national TV, and apologize to Cleveland when possible.
I grew up idolizing Jordan. Pretty familiar with both of their games.
but you can like Lebron more than Jordan. Not my problem.
How would having LeBron not announce his free agency decisions on national TV make him a better basketball player?
"Other reasons- He has put up HISTORIC numbers the last several seasons dominating his competition like no one before."
Umm no? Jordan was far more dominant in his prime, Shaq was the most dominant player ever for a few years, Wilt and Kareem were both unstoppable at points in there career. LeBron has not come remotely close to dominating like no one has before.
With that said, I have no problem with you taking LeBron over MJ to start a team just for the simple fact that he can do more. He can pretty much play all 5 positions both ways and he can do so many different things to win you a basketball game. Jordan is still better, but LeBron is probably the right pick to start a team.
This can only be an argument after LeBron retires...right now hes not even close to Jordan...
Scoring, defense, and intangibles...yes LeBron is a better passer but thats it.
No one answered my question. Who would take on your team in a pick up game?
I'll still take MJ in a half count pick up game. LB isn't the same player in the half count like he is on the fastbreak. Yeah, humans evolve and MJ athletically would still be elite in todays game for a SG.
I don't want to go too into this topic, because it has been brought up a lot and I'll just be repeating myself. Surve made a similar post.
what you talking about half-court for.
If it was a non-reffed, physical pickup game I'd take Jordan for sure. The physical abuse he took was ridiculous (see Detroit playoff series').
As for rebounding, Lebron isn't that much better than Jordan (especially considering he's two inches taller and much heavier). Also, Jordan was a better offensive rebounder, which I believe is more impressive than defensive rebounds since if you don't get a defensive rebound chances are someone else on your team will get it anyways, and it's easier to convert an offensive rebound into points.
there were some good articles comparing the 2:
i just wanted to comment on your speed point...
i agree lebron is faster, come on, the strides he takes and explosion he has is unreal. but what jordon has over lebron is quickness. jordon in his prime was one quiiiick mofo.
defensive stat wise.. jordan's career ('84-'03) blk avg is right on par with lebron ('03-present). jordan's quickness enabled him to be a great help defender as his defensive awareness was insasne.
that helped him have a carrer avg of 2.35 STL over lebron's 1.7
on the offensive side, jordan's quickness also let him go where ever he wanted, where as lebron bulls through ppl
lebron imo will be one of the greatest of all time skill wise. but i'd take jordan over him any day. jordan's fadeaway was so much fun to watch. even though defenders knew it was coming... they still can't do anything about it
one thing about lebron for his improvement.. he got better at shooting 3s but i wishhhh he can improve his FT%. a career avg of .75 has to improve. that was another reason why MJ (avg .83) was more clutch than lebron. the FT's don't have to all come at the end of the game to matter..you gotta hit them all the time
Come on guys, lebron is underrated in rebounding. I don't have the energy to write my usual long arguements but lebron gave us a glimpse of just how dominant he can be on the boards when his task is to rebound. He is 6'8 but outrebounded 7'2 hibbert, 7'1 chandler, 6'11garnett, 6'10 stoudemire and the oxlahoma bigs. He is better than Jordan at Rebounding, as well as passing. You guys are making scoring and rebounding sound so pro-jordan by using the finesse and skill arguement. Lebron put in the work to be the machine that he is, he worked really hard to get to his physical level, one that Jordan couldn't reach. And when someone says Jordan was a better scorer, I don't really think of the various ways Jordan scored better than lebron, I just look at the points put up relative to playing time, defensive roles, coaching orders assignments etc.
if it aint broken.. don't fix it
play jordan up close.. he blows by you
give him space.. he'll shoot in your face
what else do you need?
Niggas are buggin right now you said LeBron could guard all 5 positions, no he cant Centers will skill would destroy him. I never seen Jordan get lit up, LeBron gets lit up at times.
Pick up game, I'm picking Jordan cause I know I wont lose, 6/6 in Finals, LeBron 1/3.....nuff said on that part
LeBron will NEVER be where Jordan is, he wouldn't average those numbers in the 80's and 90's because the game is more suited to LBJ where Jordan actually got beat up night in and night out
LeBron wins 1 ring and now he's better than Jordan
@ Tiberius. I'm assuming you're referring to the rebounding matchups in the 2012 playoffs. Just to keep you honest, Lebron didn't outrebound Chandler or Amare in their first round matchup nor did he outrebound Hibbert in the second round. Check basketball-reference.com gamelog if you need proof:
this kind of comparison between them is wrong cause even if you classifier all those aspects of the game and it's in favor off LeBron it will not tell the true, it will miss the big favor of Jorden over LeBron and why he's much better basketball player, that's all the abstracts and intangibles stuff about the game like being more pure as a player, more feel for the game, more conventional as a player, supreme mental ability and more and more... all those things count when seeing how great player you are, and make a big different especially in 5on5 bb.
MJ is simply the greatest high volume scorer that the game has ever seen. By a sizeable margin.
You can argue that Lebron right now is as valuable as MJ at this peak. I think he's getting close, but not quite there. It's clear that MJ played at that level for more years.
Lebron does have more intangibles.. passing and interior D.
So, if Lebron improves his offense, his peak could be higher than MJ's peak. However, Lebron needs to play at this level for at least a few more years to be comparable to MJ from a career perspective.
Sidenote: On overall value MJ was superior to Kobe. WAY more efficient, and a better defender. It's not close.
passing and interior D are not intangibles.
one thing MJ clearly has over lebron is intangibles
i think one thing about jordan that we'll never know about is how much he trash talked his opponents. things he'd say and how he'd get inside someone's head on the defensive end, then scoing on them on the other side.
that's probably an underrated trait of a good defender. jordan had it, i'm not sure if lebron does it.
on a side note i wonder how much trash talking battles jordan and gary payton had lol..
LeBron had an incredible postseason and finally topped it off with a great Finals performance, but come on. It's ONE season. It was enough for a lot of people to forgive him for The Decision, but he still has a long way to go.
To be the best you can't just win one ring and then bow out for the rest of your career. How is it going to look if LeBron and Miami (or whatever team he plays for) never wins again?
Why a pointless pickup game that doesn't matter? Why not one game with everything on the line? Who would you pick if the game was on the line and it decided whether you lived or died?
But let's just focus on a pickup game for one sec. LeBron got dunked on at his own camp by Jordan Crawford and confiscated the tapes. He even got the ball stolen from him and dunked on by some Asian kid. Would Jordan have let that sh*t happen? I highly doubt it. He was simply too competitive and he always took the game seriously. You don't just turn that light switch on and off... It's a lifestyle. Jordan would fight you in a pickup game no different than he'd fight you in practice, a regular season game or the postseason. Is that LeBron???
Now, who would I pick if I had to win one game? It's easy. It's Jordan. Here's why:
- 6/6. That's what Jordan was in the NBA Finals and he delivered game after game after game on the biggest/brightest stages. Can you say that about LeBron? I'll even ignore his poor Finals performance versus the Spurs, since I know there'll be excuses. Look just two seasons ago versus Dallas. LeBron did NOT show up. Period. LeBron is 1/3 in the NBA Finals. Jason Terry talked sh*t to LeBron and then went out and busted his ass. Seriously? Can you imagine any of this happening to Jordan??? Can you imagining anybody even having the balls to talk sh*t to Jordan? Teams/Organizations were tippy toeing around him to not say anything to piss him off.
- Jordan is a scorer, but he was a great passer. He saw the entire floor. He could see/read things before they happened. Was he a willing passer? Yes, if he trusted you. You had to earn his trust by battling every single day with him. The thing I love about Jordan is that he knew when he HAD to shoot the damn ball or when to pass... That's still blurry for me with LeBron.
- LeBron is a small forward. He's *supposed* to be a better rebounder. Jordan put up 6 RPG for his career though, so he's no chump.
- Overall game. LeBron is a great all-around player, but so was Jordan. He could and did everything on the basketball court... And at both ends.
- How much you criticize LeBron for his decision and teaming up with two other star players in their prime is up to you, but I know that Michael Jordan stuck in Chicago (a franchise that sucked) and he took his lumps and bumps. People act like Pippen came in as this great player. He was physically and emotionally/mentally weak. Both Pippen and Grant were somewhat raw and it took time for them to grow. You can judge LeBron however you want, but I give Jordan credit for sticking through with the franchise that drafted him.
- Will. Fire. Killer instinct. Jordan was born with it. LeBron is trying to learn it. Big difference. Most importantly, Jordan was able to spread some of that to his teammates. It made Pippen a better player. Jordan made them ALL better and it didn't need to be just by getting an assist.
Just reading through your post... No disrespect, but it's just garbage to me. You're not giving Jordan enough credit for how great he was and you're leaving out way too many important things.
Anyone else rather have Durant surpass MJ in 10-15 years instead of LeBron?
barkley thinks that Lebron could surpass Jordan,
Although Jordans Creativity and his drive to win is truly unique