SPANISH HARLEM – With LeBron James winning his third championship just a couple weeks ago, one question has captivated experts and fans alike: Michael Jordan vs LeBron James: Who Is The GOAT?
For the purpose of this article, I will treat this story as one would an old school scout; I will trust my instincts, trust my gut feelings and most importantly… trust what my eyes have shown me.
As is the norm in sports, we love to compare players from past to those in the present. How would they match-up against one another? How they would of fared in each other’s era? Good questions that are almost impossible answer, but we still try.
I can say with certainty that LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time. He has proven that recently and throughout his career. He has played on teams with bad rosters and somehow made everyone better. He has taken good teams and made them great. There is no denying that. Most experts will tell you if you take James and put him on the 76ers, they too would be a contender. Philly?! I know… that doesn’t seem reasonable but who you know that would best against it?
I heard and read from some in the news that LeBron has passed Larry Bird as the best Small Forward ever. That is not a stretch, given the size and athletic ability that we have come accustomed to from Lebron, year in and year out. At this stage in his career, he has been mentioned in the All-Time Top 5 category for all NBA players in history, which is no easy feat considering the many greats that have played in the NBA.
But some have even compared him to Michael Jordan, and that is where my argument lies.
Simply put, Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) because everyone that saw him said it was so. Recent players to past Hall of Famers have sided with Jordan as the greatest ever. When a great player comes into the NBA and establishes themselves as an All-Time Great, the person they always compare that player to is Jordan. Now, some people will have other players as the greatest and that’s fine – we all have our biases – but the one thing you cannot deny is the amount of people that say Jordan is the greatest. This is coming from a Knicks fan who hated Jordan. These days, though, I have forgiven him and learned to respect the player he was… the greatest.
We can all talk about the analytics and how LeBron is the all-round better player, but my eyes will never show me that. When Jordan’s team needed to make a shot, you knew who it was going to and you also knew that it was going in. That was the mark he left on opponents… they would not win if Jordan took the last shot. That’s how I felt and I’m sure that’s the way everyone else felt that was watching any game he was in.
The guy retired, or was suspended depending on who you ask, and decided he wanted to play baseball for two years after winning 3 NBA titles in a row. Yes, LeBron has been to like 6 straight NBA Finals but has he won every Finals that he was in? No. After realizing that an MLB career wasn’t going to work out, he came back to the NBA and won another 3 straight titles, not counting the year he played half the season and lost to the Orlando Magic in the 1995 playoffs. Who the hell does that? God… Maybe?
I know I’m not that smart and I’m certainly no expert but I have no problem saying that Michael Jordan is the GOAT and I will always look at like they do in boxing; you can’t go 12 rounds with the champion and expect to get the decision. You must the knock the champion out. As of right now, nobody has knocked Jordan out and maybe they never will.