LeBron VS MJ – Different Styles, Same Jersey Number, Similar Results

FILE - At left is a June 16, 2013 file photo showing LeBron James. At right is an Oct. 2, 2012 file photo showing Michael Jordan. Jordan believes he could beat James in a one-on-one basketball game when he was in his prime. In a video promoting the NBA 2K14 video game that is being released Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, Jordan said there's a long list of players he would've liked to have played one-on-one.

Welcome to the barber shop, where the NBA GOAT conversation never ends.

LeBron James’ fourth NBA championship and NBA Finals MVP did nothing but fuel the debate: James or Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time in basketball?

It’s more of a matter of personal preference for criteria, style and era.

Do you appreciate that James has gone from Sports Illustrated cover to NBA bubble with 17 years of consistent stardom that keeps him atop the NBA at 35? Or do you value the peaks of Jordan with an unblemished NBA Finals record (6-0) by virtue of a persona and performance that ascended above the clouds?

James has been chasing a GOAT ghost, unable to escape his missteps of “The Decision” debacle and his 2011 NBA Finals egg. He has left teams for greener pastures and formed megateams. Jordan gets points for staying with one crew for nearly all of his career and leaves fans wondering if a “four-peat” was inevitable before his first retirement.

The new-world scrutiny is at another level for James, but he doesn’t dodge social and political stances like Jordan.

Jordan’s fame lives on with shoes, “The Last Dance” and transcendent game-winning postseason shots. James has more game-winning postseason shots, but the numbers game can foil any argument. James has played in 81 more postseason games (and counting) than Jordan, who played in an era that had shorter series.

Metrics prefer Jordan’s efficiency. Raw numbers prefer James’ volume and versatility.

The comparisons are impossible amid different styles, levels and rules. And they are futile. The choice for GOAT will always come from a gut feeling and an eye test to those who saw both.

There is only one way to settle this. But that’ll have to wait until next summer, when “Space Jam 2” can be put up against the original.

 

 

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