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What LeBron has to do to pass Jordan.

Memphis Madness
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What LeBron has to do to pass Jordan.

LeBron validated his HOF career with a title. There are some all-time greats without one. Most now have LBJ on their top 10 or 15 all-time player list. The question now is, can LeBron PASS Michael? I think he can, and he could do it sooner than one might think.

First off, the Heat just beat a really good Thunder team in five games by winning four straight. The Heat completely dominated the clinching game at home with defense, inside scoring, passing, and 3 point shooting. They looked like a COMPLETE team. So the Heat weren't a fluke title team and the Thunder weren't a fluke contender. Kevin Durant is legit. Russell Westbrook is legit. Both are young superstars who are only getting better. The Thunder had a very young team but they also had Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher who both have championship chops.

Now it is on to London (presumably) for LeBron and the rest of Team USA. LBJ will be the ring leader and go-to guy similar to how MJ was for the '92 Dream Team. If he wins another gold then his accomplishments in the international game will be two gold medals (tying Jordan who aslo won in 1984), an Olympic bronze, and a World Championship in 2010. So he is AT WORST tied with Jordan here. But, you have to give him credit for going to 3 straight Olympics plus adding a World Championship in between.

MJ has a bunch of scoring titles. 10 to be exact. LeBron has one scoring title and has been in the running for a few more. Jordan won 5 after the age of 27. LeBron never goes out gunning for scoring titles, but if he did I think he could win a few more. Advantage here goes to MJ, but LBJ's career scoring average of 27.6 is pretty damn good. Jordan averaged 30, but I think LeBron could have some more 30 point seasons if he wanted too.

I will give Jordan a ton of credit for being the best two-way non-center in NBA history. His defensive player of the year award validates that. James is a great two-way player too, and I can see him picking up a DPOY trophy at some point. So this race might end up being a tie -- an LBJ's run-down shot blocking skills are second to none.

Now, we look at each guy's offensive package. Jordan was the better pure scorer, with a better mid-range game and low post moves. But, LeBron can score at will when he gets going and can drive and finish over anyone. Jordan got a TON of calls. LeBron takes a ton of contact so he might deserve more free throw attempts than he has been getting. LeBron is also working on his low post game so I can see the advantage here going to LeBron soon since LBJ is bigger and stronger than MJ ever was. I think that LBJ can improve on his mid-range shot. I think he will. I also think that as his offensive repetoire improves, LeBron will hit more buzzer beating clutch shots. As far as 3 pointers go, Jordan had that great game in Portland in 1992 where he was completely dialed in, but LeBron has hit a few in his career. Also, for much of his career Jordan had an abysmal 3 point shooting percentage. Jordan picked it up though in his last several seasons. So maybe a slight advantage to Jordan on 3's. LeBron, though, by far, is a better finisher in the open floor. His head-of-steam full court finishes are unsurpassed in NBA history.

Jordan was a better dunker with more creativity, but LeBron is a more POWERFUL dunker. Both guys were prolific dunkers. Jordan has 2 dunk titles and LeBron has yet to compete for one. But, if LeBron does compete for one then the gap narrows a bit on the dunking scale. HOWEVER, even though Jordan had the best dunking early career in NBA history his dunking skills took a dropoff after he came back in '94. I think that with LeBron's superior size, strength, and overall power LeBron might turn into a better late career dunker. Somewhere between a still very good Jordan along with a prime Karl Malone.

LBJ blows Jordan away though when it comes to passing and rebounding. Jordan was a great rebounding non-big. LeBron is better. LeBron is one of the best passers ever. He is up their in Larry and Magic territory. MJ had a tight dribble. LeBron can do some dribbling too. The Bulls offense ran through Scottie Pippen. LeBron has been running offenses since the age of 18.

Now we get to the heart of the discussion. Jordan finished with 6 titles and 2 threepeats. Jordan finished with 5 MVP awards which was second only to Kareem. Great stuff there that cements Jordan's legacy.

LeBron now has 3 MVP awards in 4 years. I think he can get another one next year which would give him 4 MVP's in five years. All by the age of 28. I think he could easily pick up one more MVP and probably more than two. 4 MVP's in 5 years would be incredible. Something Jordan never did. If LeBron gets up there at 6 or 7 MVP's then he passes Jordan in this category, a category in which Jordan's legacy gets a ton of credit for.

James has only one title, but he has already been to 3 finals. I think this Miami team is legit. He has a superstar buddy in Wade along with Bosh, Haslem, Battier, and a nice young point guard by the name of Mario Chalmers. I think they will be the favorites to win it again next year. With two titles and 4 Finals appearances by the age of 28, LeBron would be rapidly gaining on Jordan.

This Heat team impresses me a lot and reminded me a bit this Finals of the MJ-Pippen-Rodman Bulls teams. 3 great HOF vets with sky-high basketball IQ's who played well as a team and hit the big shots. There is an outside shot, but still a chance that the Heat could pull off four straight titles, especially if they get some more help at center and an upgrade either this year on next at the backup scoring wing position (to replace Mike Miller and James Jones). Jordan never won four straight. Only Bill Russell has done more than the 3-peat.

So if in the next 3 years, LeBron wins 3 more titles that would give him four titles in his career with 6 Finals appearances. Then he could get that fourth MVP next year which would give him 4 in 5 years. I think the voters give him a year off the year after that but I could see him winning yet another in 2014-2015 when LeBron has his low post game down pat. He will probably also have Kareem's sky hook, the patented Magic no-look pass, and a Dirkesque one-legged, off balance jumper. Then throw in "the Mailman dunk" for good measure. A fourpeat, five MVP's and several more triple doubles will definitely have LeBron knocking on Jordan's door.

I think something that has been a bit overlooked here in the MJ/LBJ discussion is the number 72. That is the trump card in Jordan's career. His 1995-1996 Bulls team won a record 72 games. 72-10 is one hell of a year, capped off by a Finals win against the Prequel Thunder. Looking at next year for the Heat, the Big Three will have really gotten to know each other's games. I think they really started to gel this year, so by next year those guys along with an improving Chalmers aka Chauncey Junior, and the rest of the gang will start to resemble Magic's Showtime meets Jordan's Bulls. I am gonna say it. I think that next year's Heat, if they wanted too could challenge the 1996 Bulls for 72 wins. Now with Chalmers they have four go-to scorers plus Battier and Haslem, along with Mike Miller, James Jones, and Norris Cole off the bench. If they get a good rookie or sign a center then that would give them even more depth. The biggie here is who will they be facing next year? The East doesn't look too good going into next year. Rose will be out the majority of the year for the Bulls and Dwight Howard will be out some. Plus, KG might retire and Ray Allen might not resign. The Heat will clearly be better than those 3 teams. Who is left in the East? The Pacers, Knicks, and Hawks? I can see them dropping a game or two or three against those Eastern Conference contenders but look for the Heat to storm through the East next year. You can put 'em down for wins right now against the Bobcats, Wizards, Bucks, and Raptors. The West is the superior conference but they only play those guys twice a year. But, the Lakers are a year older as are the Spurs. The Thunder will be back and better, and while I don't see the Heat beating the Thunder at OKC in the regular season I think the game back in Miami will be a "statement game" for Miami. So, look for a split there. I think the Mavs could steal a game with a vintage 2011 Dirk game but that would be it. The Clippers and Grizzies are good, so the Heat might drop a game to one of the classic stuck-in-the-middle Western conference teams but the Heat should be able to handle the other Western teams for the most part.

So I think the Heat have an outside shot at 72 wins next year given the battered and beaten Eastern foes, and some aging Western conference powers. I only see the Oklahoma City Thunder as the only legit threat to sweep the Heat during the 2012-2013 regular season.

As incredible as it might seem, LeBron could pass Jordan in 3 years. 4 MVP's in five years, plus another MVP trophy, 3 more titles to give him the incredibly rare 4peat, a 72 win season, several more triple doubles, a DPOY, some great all-star games including a surprise dunk contest appearance, an Olympic gold medal this summer, a refined post game, some clutch shots, and nasty dunks would put LeBron ahead of Jordan as the greatest all-time NBA player in my book.


Jlv2012
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If he keeps his word.

cabbycab
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Just want to say I really

Just want to say I really enjoyed the dunk analysis. that is all.

Lebron's Hairline
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lebron

He's aslready a way more rounded player than Jordan, I think he's as gods or a little leas than Jordan in playoff performances, he broke his own record last night with 15 consecutive playoff games of 25 points. He's also showed up in the biggest games of the playoffs, game 4 against the pavers he had 45 pts, 18 rebs, 9 says. Game 6 against Boston he had 48 pts, 12 rebs, 7 ast. Last night he had a triple double so all these thoughts of him not being clutch should be killed now

mosdef
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LeBron will never pass

LeBron will never pass Jordan.

its hard to repeat and Wade is getting slower and older

also, Jordan has a flawless Finals and Olympic record. LeBron is 1-2 in Finals Series. He had a great playoff run but 1 ring isnt even close to Jordan. And Jordan backers can always said he retired for 2 years so he probably wouuld have won 8 rings...and zero loses in the Finals

mikeyvthedon
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Keep being the best player in the NBA, for quite a while longer

LeBron has arguably been the best player in the NBA for 3 years, though I truly believe Kobe Bryant was in the discussion for a portion of that time. The thing that makes Michael Jordan so incredibly great is, honestly, he was head and shoulders above everyone else he was playing. Larry, Magic, Barkley, Malone, all of them were behind Michael by light years by his third season in the league.

Michael arguably could have won 9/10 MVP's:

http://www.nbadraft.net/forum/mvp-4

In fact, I truly believe there was a 6 year period (from 1987-88-1992-93) where Michael Jordan more than likely should have won the MVP in all of those seasons (he won it 3 times). Even if he did not win the MVP, it was pretty obvious that he was the leagues best and most dominant player. Their really was no good rival at his position, which is not entirely his fault, but seems to make him look even better.

Michael was just so dominant in so many different ways that I feel people tend to forget some important factors. He won 10 scoring titles, plus one every season that he won the Championship. Not that LeBron would need to do this even once, just that this is incredibly impressive. Michael also is the career leader in PPG, not to mention head and shoulders above anyone as far as play-off PPG.

This is the key factor, the play-offs. Michael Jordan never averaged less than 29.3 ppg in a given play-off season! What? He led the play-offs in PPG 10 times, averaged 33.4 ppg for his career. Topping that will need a little more than a 4 peat.

What LeBron has to do to even become close to Michael Jordan is to separate himself from the rest of the league even further. MVP's will help, rings and huge play-off performances will help more. If LeBron can have a 10 year stretch close to Michael Jordan in this current league, than there could be a possible discussion. Right now, you could argue he is not even 20% of the way there with all things considered.

People forget how absolutely dominant Michael Jordan was, not to mention his combination of individual and team success. To surpass this, at least on a scale of career achievement and accomplishment, LeBron will need to do things that stand out or differentiate him from Michael. Truthfully, I do not believe it can or will be done. If anyone could do it, LeBron seems to be the guy, but he will need a lot more than a few more rings and MVP's to get there in my eyes.

mosdef
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@mikeythe don

word up.

I would like to know how old the people are when saying LeBron can pass Jordan.As you said, Jordan was dominant. He even sort of changed his game to the jumper more and he was still dominant. Jordan never lost in a Final: college, NBA, Olympics

machu46
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Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA

Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA Finals and led two 3-peats. I don't think we'll ever see that again, especially with Wade's athleticism already diminishing with each passing season.

LeBron will go down as ONE OF the greatest of All-Time if I had to guess, but he will not pass Jordan.

It blows my mind how people think LeBron is "way more" well rounded than Jordan was. Jordan was THE complete player. By far the best scorer in the league, possibly the best man-to-man defender in the league, a great rebounder for his position, a great passer, unstoppable on the drive, great in the post, and possibly the best mid-range game we've seen. On top of that, he is by far the most clutch player at least since his era. I think I read somewhere that Jordan shot over 50% on game-winning/tying baskets.

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Lebron would need to win more

Lebron would need to win more rings than MJ to be in the discussion of surpassing Jordan.

BrentSuriaga01
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one word

NOTHING

mosdef
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Jordan would have never took

Jordan would have never took himself out with cramps in the final minutes of a crucial game. He would have sucked it up and dunked it on someone...its an exaggeration but it is funny to think abou it

sheltwon3
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I think once Lebron has a

I think once Lebron has a legit post game that he uses like Kobe uses his post game and get 2 or 3 more rings than in this era I think you can say he is on the level of MJ. MJ did not have to deal with twitter and the internet this ruthlessly. Lebron showed me a killer instinct in this playoffs enough to if he keeps it going than he deserves that recognition but he still care what people think about him too much MJ just wanted to shut people up and show them they were wrong. What they thought did not matter because he did not care.

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Big Game James

mosdef,

LeBron hit a conteseted bank shot and a dagger 3 "all cramped up". Not bad.

At this age in Jordan's career (27) Jordan had ONE title. So he got 5 titles after the age of 27. LeBron is on pace, that's all I can say. Jordan's career took an even higher trajectory in 1992 when at the age of 28 he beat Drexler and the Blazers to win his second ring, then one an Olympic gold with the Dream Team. This summer LeBron can win his second gold medal. If the Heat can repeat next year then how is LeBron not on pace with Jordan?

Jordan's run from 1996-1998 really put him over the top. 3 titles, 3 Finals MVP's, a 72 win season, 3 scoring titles, and 2 regular season MVP awards. He accomplished those feats in his 12th, 13th, and 14th NBA season. So LBJ has time. LeBron took a while to get his first ring but he is in pretty good shape. He has five more years until his 14th season and I think he can win a few more titles. Then, I think after that LeBron can move over to power forward with his size and strength and improving post game a la Karl Malone who is a guy who played the position at a high level for nearly 20 years.

I am a HUGE Jordan fan and don't take his legacy lightly. I remember watching the 1991 Finals. The 1992 Dream Team. The threepeat against the Suns that put Jordan in elite company. The second go-around with the Bulls that really put him over the top and cemented his legacy as the GOAT.

What if LeBron goes off on the entire league next year after winning another gold in London? What if he adds an MVP award (it would be his FOURTH in five years), messes around and gets a few triple doubles, adds some 40 point games and maybe a 50, goes on some montser winning streak and takes a run at the 72 win Bulls (honestly, who in the hell is gonna beat the Heat in the East next year? CJ Watson and the Bulls? Big Baby and the Magic? Rondo, PP and the Big Two in Beantown? The Roy/George Pacers?). Then wins another title and Finals MVP maybe even in a rematch with the Thunder. I could also see him having a shot at a DPOY award. And, of course, he will put on a show at the all-star game.

That would be a heck of a year for LeBron James. So by the age of 28, LeBron would have 2 titles (in four Finals appearances including 3 straight), 2 Finals MVP's, 2 gold medals, a World Championship with Team USA, an Olympic bronze, a scoring title in 2008, a possible 2012 DPOY, and 4 MVP's in five years. Add to that a bunch of triple doubles, game 6 this year in Boston, his cramp game clutch shots and the triple double closeout in Game 5, his big buzzer beating 3 against the Magic a few years ago, his single-handed destruction against the Pistons in a playoff game several years ago, plus great dunks, passes, and run-down blocks. How does LeBron not stack up with Jordan then?

anthonymatthew24
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What does Lebron need to do to surpass Jordan

That never gonna happen, we all know that.

AKOO
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Doubt if he can pass Jordan,

Doubt if he can pass Jordan, look at Kobe.

TallmanNYC
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Who cares if Michael won a

Who cares if Michael won a gold with Dream Team I? If I had been put on that team, I would have won the same medal (assuming daly had the good sense not to play me). Dream Team was a great team and a great story, but that collection of talent being able to beat CROATIA for the gold hardly counts as a crowning athletic feat for any of those players.

Lebron needs mutiple additional championships and MVPs to make this a discussion. Still a long way to go.

rhamnlacson
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both

both players have totaly diff situations MJ is totaly diff from lebron in so many ways even just in thier drive and motivation from the game is diff

rhamnlacson
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no

no one can ever surpass what jordan has done he is a pioneer and while lbj is just a meer follower of what jordan has already accomplished in the nba

mosdef
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@Memphis Madness

I consider Jordan the GOAT. when the GOAT has a flawless record then to even catch up to that level you have to be perfect too. I find it probably better to have an arguement of Kobe vs LeBron instead of Jordan

Also, LeBron's wing man in Wade is older then LeBron. Pippen was younger then Jordan. I find it hard to sustain a level to get to 6 titles when Wade is already slowing down.

Im not saying LeBron isnt good. He will probably be on the all-GOAT team as a top 5 player ever

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Lets be real he can have

Lets be real he can have better career stats than Jordan that makes no difference. If you were picking a team to go into a 7 game series and you had to pick between Jordan and James in their prime who would you pick? To me its Jordan its that simple. Jordan is a winner in a way Lebron never has been or will be. Think of the fact that Jordan got to the final 6 times and won six times. He dominated in an era with the Bad Boys trying to kill him. Imagine if Lebron had to sufffer the hard falls and treatment Jordan did he would crumble. Jordan's era was the era of true physical basketball no flagrant fouls for running into a player like last night. The rules that Lebron still can only win one scoring title with were created becuase how physical teams were with Jordan and he still scored 30+ easy.

I will give it to Lebron winning and he is a very good player but you can talk about him being more well rounded and all that stuff. He lacks that special quality that you cant't explain that Jordan has to this day. Lebron is a genetic freak to be 6'9 260 and handle the ball like he does but to me he hasn't even surpassed Majic to me. Even though he is a better athlete than Majic I would still pick him and Jordan before I would consider Lebron.

surve
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let's see, turn water into

let's see, turn water into wine....feed a multitude with fish and bread, reduce the national deficit, find a cure for cancer, discover life on other planets...that would be a start...(let you guys tell it)

seriously we should stop comparing, the situation is different, the era is different, the players are different.

Lebron is the most talented player there has ever been, but he is also the most unselfish and ego-less star when you look at his pre-ordained destiny that he has lived up to every bit if not surpassed....and that is something that I dont know if anyone has ever done.

at the same time, he is the most unselfish Alpha Dog I have ever seen. I dont know if Lebron believes he is the best because if he did, he wouldnt have teamed up with Wade. Jordan wouldnt do that, because he has to be the man, thats his personality and ego. to do what Lebron has done is saying that you want to win at all costs and you put being the man secondary.

in a Finals series, who would you have? again, they are different players. Jordan mentally could carry a team with a set group of personalities and skills....Lebron could do the same, but with players of a different personality and set of skills. Its they way they are made up and how they blend with others.

at the risk of being redundant, times are different, who's to say what it wouldve been like had Lebron been in the era with MJ? you act as if Lebron cant score over 30ppg, thats not who he is...that doesnt make him less. they are all different, in some situations I would rather have Magic over Jordan. Had Magic's career not been cut short who's to say he wouldnt be the GOAT?

I really could care less to tell you the truth, because I love Jordan. I also think that its unfair to compare players, particularly from different eras. Jordan was the best player I ever seen, but Magic was the most unique and he couldve been the GOAT from what he accomplished. What Jordan did was special, but I hate it when people act like that makes him some type of diety. Kobe was every bit as gifted. If there was a Mount Rushmore of b-ball players, Magic, Kobe, and Lebron would be on it....however it would be blastphemous to fashion an image in the likeness of Jordan in some peoples minds.

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LMAO!!! The dunking analysis

LMAO!!! The dunking analysis had me weak!

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lebron will never pass

lebron will never pass jordan...

no one will ever pass mj

sheltwon3
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I think 3 years for now

I think 3 years for now people will either have enought ammo to support Lebron over MJ or it will be apparent that he is not at the level. This is too early and you can't compare different eras by just numbers. Everything has to be taken into account. Jordan beat some very good teams to win his championships and Lebron had to face a too old Boston team and a too young OKC team. You can't really compare those situations. I am glad has won a ring but Kobe has 5 rings and yet he still is not on Jordan' s level as far as what people say so how come Lebron can get there with just one. The Lakers had to beat better and more complete teams to win it all. The Lakers and Spurs were in each other way a great deal because when that series went down, the winner normally won the whole thing. Boston would have more rings if not for the Lakers. I think next year if Miami can win it, they will have to face a tougher group of teams and you have to believe that OKC will be hungry like Miami was this year.

akhan786
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Btw...Lebron didn't win a

Btw...Lebron didn't win a World Championship in 2010...

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