You’ve surely heard the discussions by now. If not, do you live under a rock? Has Lebron James officially surpassed Michael Jordan as the GOAT?
Is what Lebron has done tougher than what Jordan did? Who went up against greater competition? Who had the better teammates? Who would’ve done better if their roles were reversed?
Stop it. Just stop it.
First, this may be hard for some people to take. It really doesn’t matter who the greatest of all time is. What exactly comes from being dubbed the GOAT? I need a reasoning for why it actually matters.
Second, determining who is the “best” is a matter of opinions and values. What is most important to you as a basketball player? Lebron averages just over 27 points per game in his career, Jordan averaged just over 30. Jordan’s shot percentage was just under 50% while Lebron’s is just over. Which is more important? Depends who you ask.
Maybe one reason for Lebron averaging less points a game is his passing game. Lebron averages almost two more assists per game in his career than Jordan did. Is this important to you? Depends who you ask.
From the floor, Lebron is statistically better. He has a career .540 effective field goal percentage while Jordan had a .509. From the line, Jordan is much better. In virtually the same amount of free throw attempts per game (it’s a difference of 0.1), Jordan shot 83.5% and Lebron shoots 73.9%.
Coming from an OKC fan, I think free throws are pretty important. So which of those stats is more important? Again, depends who you ask.
What about Jordan’s post retirement years? His career numbers were greatly hindered due to his two seasons with the Wizards. Do you take that into account? If Lebron is still playing at 38 and 39, will he still average over 20 a game? That’s a strong example of an opinion question.
Perhaps the strongest point in this entire argument isn’t based on statistics. It’s the simple fact that they played in two completely different eras. I’m not talking about the hard-nosed era or the flopping era. I’m talking about simply who was playing the game.
Unless you could play with or against the same players at about the same time, it will be impossible to ever truly compare. That’s why this isn’t just a basketball issue, it’s for every sport. Unless one person is far and above everybody else (ex: Jerry Rice is the best wide receiver of all time), truly finding the “GOAT” is not possible.
Here’s a thought. Let’s quit arguing. Let’s stop fighting a fight that can’t be won. Let’s enjoy what we are witnessing. Lebron is certainly one of the best to ever do it, how about we just take it in rather than constantly starting a debate.