It seems like as early as LBJs sophomore year in high school, people have been ready to crown him the king of basketball (King James). I specifically remember buying an issue of SLAM magazine featuring a 16 year old Lebron and a 17 year old Sebastian Telfair (who?) on the cover. This article promised certain domination from James in the NBA’s future. And James delivered. James has physically, and statistically dominated the NBA since his arrival, and I don’t think there is any arguing that he is the current King of the NBA. His biggest criticism was his failure to bring home gold in his early years, but he has now laid that demon to rest winning back to back NBA championships. As his hand begins to accumulate rings his fans are beginning to crown him “Greatest Of All Time.” But even in the eyes of the casual fan there is only one greatest of all time, right? His name starts with M and ends with Ichael Jordan. Needless to say sports analysts have analyzed and debated the careers of these two men to the point where it almost sounds like its a valid argument……. not quite.
Let me end this for anyone who has any doubt. His Airness is far superior to King James. Its not even close. From an emotional standpoint, Michael Jordan was a greater leader, a higher energy performer, and a clutch guy who stepped up and won the game when it counted most. James fans like to throw stats around like triple doubles and regular season points per game, but even in that category, Jordan is better in every way. Lebron James most impressive stat is his 27.5 points per game average in the regular season. Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game. This was over a 15 year span that included his three year much weaker stint with the Washington Wizards. Lebron’s 27.5 comes from 11 years worth of data which are sure to be his best years. You never here about a basketball player getting better in his thirties.
But I’m not a big regular season guy. I think legends are made in championship games. I just threw some regular season numbers at you, because that is literally Lebron’s strongest field. Jordan ultimately cemented his legacy in the finals. You know, those six NBA championships he won that no one ever even took him to a 7 game series in. Jordan played better in the finals than he did in the regular season. His 30.1 points per game became 33.3 points per game. Jordan steps up and plays his ass off in the big game, but for anyone who watched the Bulls in the 90s, I don’t have to tell you that stat for you to know that. Now, furthermore, Lebron James plays WORSE in the NBA finals. His record is 2-2, and is average points per game is 22.3. (Not to mention, Lebron James’ teammate Dwayne Wade averages 25 points per game in his finals performances.) If you want to be called the “Greatest of All Time” it is unacceptable to play worse in the championship game than in the regular season.
Another big argument for the Lebron following is that his number of assists and rebounds are higher than MJs in the finals. Yes, Lebron does average 1 more assist and 1 more rebound a game than Michael Jordan who is clearly too caught up scoring 11 more points a game and winning championships to handle up on that end of the scorecard. But, if you’re gonna go the well rounded versatile route (which by the way doesn’t win games.) I’ll ask you to compare Lebron to another small forward. Lebron averages 22 points, 7 assists, and 8 rebounds a game in the finals. Another small forward whose name starts with L and ends with Arry Bird averages 23.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 11.6 rebounds per game in the finals which he has won 3. That is a much more “well rounded” performance to suit your taste. Also worth mentioning is Shaquille O’neal with his four championships averages 28.8 points per game, 13.1 rebounds a game, and 3.3 assists per game; and lastly Hakeem the dream with his two rings 27.4 points a game, 10.6 rebounds a game and 3.2 assists per game.
(On a side note: each one of these players have substantially higher numbers in championship games than their regular season stats. Unlike ‘King James’)
So in conclusion, Lebron is nowhere near the level of Michael Jordan. If you make this comparison you must be a teenager who never watched Jordan or a dementia patient who doesn’t remember Jordan. I think Lebron still has to pass Shaq, Olajawon, and Bird before he starts eyeing MJ.
Im Nick Nunnery, and that’s a wrap.