Writer: Jameson White
Lebron James is better than Michael Jordan. In the past, the point could be made that Michael was a better player than Lebron, and rightfully so. Michael had a perfect 6-0 record in the Finals, a tall task for any player to live up to. However, now that both players have 15 seasons under their belts, the championship rings is the only argument one could make to why Jordan is better as a player than James.
Lebron James, in terms of points, is close to Michael Jordan. In year 15, at the age of 32 years old, is 7th in NBA history in points. He trails Jordan by roughly 3000 points scored in a career, and considering “King James” has averaged nearly 2000 points scored per season, and has been an extremely durable player, there is no reason to think that he will not have passed Michael in that category by the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season, or at the very least, by the end of the 2019-2020 season.
In other aspects of the game, Lebron is far superior to “His Airness” as well. Lebron is a better passer. Lebron is a better rebounder. Lebron is a more versatile defender by a mile, as he can guard all five positions on the court with his 6’8”, 250 pound frame. Lebron is the more efficient shooter, in both the playoffs and the regular season.
Another argument that some will make in regards to Michael being the better player, is claiming that the competition level in the 90’s was so much greater. No doubt, there were incredible players that played in Jordan’s era, such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, or the “Bad Boy” Pistons, just to name a few. In Lebron’s case, the players have been just as incredible. His competitors include Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Tony Parker, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Stephen Curry, Paul Pierce, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, to name a few, as well as an abundance of up-and-coming stars that Lebron will be battling as his career winds down. Which is another point: when Michael left the NBA, the league was missing a new face for years, until Lebron showed up. When Lebron leaves, a new face will be waiting.
When Michael Jordan retired, the first time, his the Bulls won 55 games without him. Whenever Lebron left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, the Cavs won 19 games the following year. As a reminder, this same Cavs team with Lebron went to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now, back to the rings argument. Yes, Michael Jordan has six rings to his name, and Lebron “only” has three. The records in those respective finals are 6-0 compared to 3-5. However, in the years that Jordan did not make the NBA Finals, he lost in the first or second round of the playoffs, including three straight first round exits. Lebron, in his 15 seasons in the NBA, has never lost in the first round of the playoffs. To me, losing in the Finals is a lot more impressive than losing in the first couple of rounds in the playoffs.
Michael Jordan was no doubt a great player, definitely an all-time great. Lebron, though, has now passed him as the greatest player ever. Michael Jordan is the greatest champion ever? No, Bill Russell had enough rings to fill up every one of his fingers, along with putting one on a toe. The most accomplished player ever? No, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? No, Kareem’s statistics and accolades outweigh the likes of Jordan and James. The greatest player, with all things into consideration? Lebron. Raymone. James.