LeBron James and Michael Jordan, who is the No. 1 in NBA history?

The  over who is the greatest basketball player of all time has heated up again after LeBron James won his 4th NBA championship with the Los Angdebateeles Lakers on October 11th.

LeBron James left his final mark in game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals when the clock was ticking down from 2 minutes and 6 seconds. James missed a 3-point shot, but then rebounded his own shot and charged through a group of 4 Miami Heat players to score 2 points.

It was a reflection of Heat’s helplessness against the 35-year-old superstar. James was too fast and strong for an age where most basketball players struggle to keep up in the NBA. “King James” recorded a triple-double (3 stats over 10 points) to lead the Lakers to the 2019/20 NBA championship.

James has won 4 championships with 3 different teams. In NBA history, James is the only player to win Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals) on 3 different teams. With these new achievements of James, basketball fans are once again divided into two extremes when discussing the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Between James and Michael Jordan, who is the greatest player in the history of basketball?

Eight ounces will not hold a pound

Michael Jordan is synonymous with the title “Basketball King” after leaving behind a massive legacy in the NBA. Meanwhile, LeBron James is known by the moniker “King James” for his qualities as a once-in-a-generation basketball player in the planet’s number one league.

Jordan went through 15 glorious seasons with two teams, the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. Among those, Jordan dedicated his prime years to the Bulls and turned the team into an unbreakable dynasty. As for James, he has gone through 17 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Lakers.

LeBron James anh 2

LeBron James anh 2

ESPN referred to Jordan as an icon of loyalty, while James broke this standard by being willing to carry the stigma of a “traitor” in order to create his own empire. Jordan and the Bulls won the NBA championship 6 times, while James has 2 fewer titles than Jordan, but the difference is that LeBron has won 4 NBA championships with 3 different teams.

“Jordan was truly great in a Bulls uniform. With James, wherever he goes, he leaves greatness,” CNN commented on the battle between James and Jordan. NBC Sports said, “Do you like a player with a successful career at one team, or a factor that leaves a mark wherever he goes?”.

Counting championships is not the way to distinguish who is better between Jordan and James. Instead, experts have debated from the numbers and specific performances of the two stars on the court.

James has played in 260 NBA playoff games, a record in the league. “King James” has appeared in 9 out of the last 10 NBA Finals. Jordan made it to the NBA Finals 6 times and achieved a perfect record. The special thing is that the “king of basketball” set a record with 6 NBA Finals MVP awards.

In the NBA playoffs, James averages 28.8 points, 9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. Jordan’s record is 33.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists (in 179 games played). In the NBA Finals alone, James has recorded 11 triple-doubles. In the playoffs, James has recorded 28 triple-doubles, only behind the legendary Magic Johnson (30 times).

In May 1989, Jordan left a classic moment when he hit the buzzer-beater shot, described as a “dagger,” in front of Craig Ehlo’s defense. Eight years later, Jordan made a beautiful buzzer-beater jump shot, helping the Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz in the first game of the 1997 NBA Finals.

James has also created a series of memorable moments. In Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, “King James” made a successful shot at a critical moment, giving the Heat a 4-point lead with only 27.9 seconds left on the clock. In Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, James made a classic moment with a block against Andre Igoudala’s layup attempt.

From ESPN’s perspective, Jordan often faced one-on-one situations during his era. In James’ era, teams tend to play more zone defense. In theory, James is easier to breathe under pressure from defense, but the tactics are more complicated.

“If Jordan played basketball today, could he maintain a low turnover rate?” ESPN asked. Jordan was slightly ahead in steals during the playoffs (2.1 per game compared to James’ 1.7 per game). Meanwhile, James was superior in the number of blocks (1 per game compared to Jordan’s 0.8 per game).

“Jordan has a more formidable attacking ability, but James surpasses him in most other skills. This is concluded through the statistics of the two athletes in different periods. The disadvantage of this debate is that Jordan and James can never compete against each other. Therefore, assessments will never come to an answer that satisfies everyone,” ESPN commented.

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