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Home   /   LeBron vs Jordan: Face-off

Sub-edited by Louis Wright

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As LeBron James enters his 20th season as an NBA player still defying ‘Father Time’ by performing to an elite level as the oldest player in the league. Debate seems to be hotter than ever regarding who is the ‘GOAT’ of basketball, and generally, only two names are ever brought up: LeBron, of course, and six time NBA champ Michael Jordan, so who is really the greatest of all time? 

Career performance 

Arguably, the most important factor to look at when engaging in a debate such as this is their overall career performance. Both players were elite scorers and LeBron remains one at 38 years old but generally over their careers Jordan can be seen as the better scorer. He is a member of a very exclusive group of players to average over 30 points per game for their entire careers, he has the record for the most NBA scoring titles and, perhaps most staggeringly, has the second highest average points per game in NBA finals with a ridiculous 33.6 points per game. 

But that’s not to say LeBron is a slouch when it comes to the scoring department, in fact, far from it as he holds the title for the most points in NBA history. However, he has played significantly more games than Jordan in his career, nevertheless, an impressive achievement. But when it comes to what makes LeBron so good, it’s his all-round game, the defence, the playmaking, the rebounding, the athleticism and the shooting, it wouldn’t be outrageous to say a more well-rounded player has never stepped foot on an NBA court. In fact, LeBron is the only player in NBA history to have scored over 30,000 points whilst getting over 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists. 

But when looking at both these players careers it is important to look at, not only individual success, but also team success and when it comes to this area of the debate, Michael Jordan stands tall. In his six NBA Finals appearances, Michael Jordan has never lost, an insane stat which truly shows Jordan’s ability to will his team to win and has his fair share of iconic Finals moments. On the other hand, LeBron has also appeared in six finals but has only won four. Generally, this would be very impressive but compared to Jordan’s six Finals victories from his six appearances it, unfortunately, pales in comparison. 


The greatest of all time in a sport has to be someone who has inspired the next generation and continues to inspire generations even after their retirement and there have been no greater influences on today’s generation than these two men. In an anonymous poll of 103 NBA players performed by The Athletic in 2023, 58.3% of players voted Jordan as the greatest player of all time whilst 33% voted for LeBron. This shows Jordan’s unwavering influence over the league as 20 years after his retirement he still remains the player’s choice over LeBron, after all, you don’t get given the nickname ‘Black Jesus’ without having an impact on your colleagues and the further world around you. 


So, when it comes to who’s the GOAT of basketball, Jordan or LeBron, it can only be seen to be one man at this point in time, Michael Jordan. The scoring, the defending, the mid-range shooting but possibly most impressive of all, the unshakeable will to win is what sees Jordan just edge past LeBron at this moment in time. However, still playing at 38 years old and in his 20th year in the league, there is no reason why LeBron couldn’t close the gap before he throws in the towel on his illustrious career and besides, finishing second to a man named ‘Black Jesus’ isn’t the worst achievement in the world. 

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May 2024