Michael Jordan: The greatest to ever play the sport?

Louis Craffey

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You would think Michael Jordan’s 6 championship rings, his numerous individual accolades, and how influential he was to the world would seal the deal on the GOAT debate right? Wrong. There are still people in the world today that think Lebron James is actually a better NBA player than Michael Jordan was and its mind blowing. Jordan had more success as a team, was a better defender, and had the “killer” mentality that Lebron has never seemed to have. 

Michael Jordan’s undefeated 6-0 finals record is one of the many reasons that sets him apart from Lebron James. In the biggest moments of his career, he never backed down and fought the whole way. Jordan had to face great teams in the finals such as Karl Malone and John Stockton led Utah Jazz, the Charles Barkley led Phoenix Suns, the Gary Payton led Seattle Supersonics, and many more. Jordan was an animal when it came to playing in the playoffs. Over his entire career he averaged 33.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game all against the best talent the NBA had to offer. Michael Jordan’s finals performances is the reason he is known to be the clutch player that he is known as. Lebron on the other hand, is not known for being near as clutch as Jordan and for a good reason. Lebron James has a record of 4-6 in the NBA finals which is the main reason that Lebron is not considered to be the “killer” like Jordan and Kobe are known as. Lebron James lost in the finals to Dirk Nowitzki with what many considered to be a super team, with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh both helping Lebron out. No matter who you are playing or what you have to work with, it is inexcusable to lose 6 different times in the finals if you are a player as talented as Lebron James. The ultimate goal of the game is to come out on top at the end of the season, and if Jordan has done that more times than Lebron has, Jordan should be considered the better player. 

Not only did Michael Jordan win more NBA championships than Lebron, but he was an all around better individual player than him as well. Jordan won 6 championships, and also won finals MVP all 6 times to Lebron’s 4 times. Jordan also proved he was better than Lebron in the regular season, boasting 5 MVPs to Lebron’s 4. What makes these numbers even more impressive is that Michael Jordan played 15 seasons of basketball and still has more accomplishments than Lebron who is going on season 17. Jordan was also a much better defender than Lebron has ever been. Throughout his 15 year career he managed to be a 3x steals leader, win Defensive Player of the Year, and was selected on the All-Defensive first team 9 times. Lebron James, on the other hand, has not been the steals leader ever, has never won Defensive Player of the Year, and was only selected 5 times for All-Defensive first team. Although, it should come to no surprise that Jordan was the better defender because defense was valued way more in the 90s than it is today, which just makes Jordan’s offensive stats look even more impressive than they already are. He was putting up 30 points per game while going up against great defenses like the Super Sonics and the Bad Boy Pistons. The Pistons were so ruthless especially towards Jordan that it was more of a boxing match than a basketball game. The Pistons had certain rules for the team when they played MJ. Whenever Jordan would drive toward the basket, the Pistons’ way to stop him was to foul him and foul him hard. These were called the “Jordan rules”. This just goes to show how dominant Michael Jordan was, that teams had to foul him to stop him.

Jordan’s success on the court alone puts him above Lebron, not including his influence on the entire world. Michael Jordan was just so much more influential than Lebron has ever been. Jordan was known worldwide by everyone and was in commercials, TV shows, and movies. He starred in the hit movie Space Jam in 1996, as NBA stars teamed up with the Looney Tunes characters in one of the greatest basketball movies of all time. The movie was considered a huge success by many, grossing over 230 million dollars worldwide, the highest grossing basketball movie of all time. Jordan’s clothing brand is one of the things he is most known for. Starting in 1984, the brand took over the clothing business and was booming. Jordan is estimated to make around 130 million dollars a year just from his brand, which is 3 times more than second place earner, Lebron James. Just in 2019 alone, Jordan made over 100 million more dollars than Lebron for his shoes. 

After going through all of Michael Jordan’s accomplishments, both on and off the court, it is unbelievable that people still try to say Lebron is better. Jordan had more team success than Lebron ever had, was much more successful individually and on defense than Lebron has ever been, and was a bigger influence on the entire world than Lebron could ever be.

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LeBron James: The greatest to ever play the sport?