If you listen to my Bonfire Sports podcast any you’ll know I am currently pretty fed up with basketball in general. However we are a few weeks away from all the sports analysts running out of headline news with the NBA and NHL play offs winding down to a close. So to fill dead air the frequently used goat debate is often brought up. It’s a great topic to use obviously because you can argue back and forth on it for an hour straight with no shortage of material. The fact of the matter is though that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to ever live and it’s just as simple as that.
Now obviously stating that won’t make the debates stop by any means ESPN still needs air time filled and wants anything that can drum up a heated argument to fill that time with. So with that said we can dive into the facts a little more to hopefully get people to stop entertaining the thought that it is anyone else but Jordan at least for the time being. What kills me about the debate now is how often people are so much “what have you done for me lately”. Now this argument is about LBJ and MJ yet people completely forget that just a few short years ago it was Kobe and MJ. Like I said though sports fans are extremely bad to let their dumb sports brains (this isn’t and insult, I have one too) tell them that whoever they are seeing dominate at the time, is simply the best to ever do it. Because no one else in history could possibly be better than the player you are watching right now at this moment in time, because the whole universe revolves around you and what you alone have experienced. Now that is clearly aimed at people who are 30 and under,and even though I fall in to that category and I only can really remember the washed version of Jordan with the Wizards I’ve seen enough footage and read enough of the numbers to know that there is a very clear difference.
So lets take a look at this aforementioned numbers. Jordan played a total of 15 seasons, Lebron currently is on his 16th. Jordan played at UNC and left for the NBA at 21 years old, while Lebron on the other hand went straight out of highschool at 18. Now is this Lebrons fault that Jordan went to college and didn’t go straight to the NBA when he was an 18 year old? Absolutely not. What drives me insane about that however is the fact people want to post their total career numbers side by side and pretend that that is a fair comparison when it’s not in any way shape or form, and here is why. Jordan and LBJ have played 15 & 16 seasons respectively but that is very misleading. Of those 15 “seasons” 2 of them were when Jordan was a shell of himself coming out of retirement to play for the Wizards as an old decrepit man, who by the way still averaged a pretty healthy 20 ppg, not to shabby for a 38-39 year old. At the end of the day his time with the Wizards ultimately hurts his career ppg average which will be used later in the blog. Let us also not forget that another 2 of these season were a whopping total of 18 games 85-86 (broken leg), and 17 games 94-95 (return from baseball). Therefor over all those 15 “seasons” of MJ’s pan out to be a whole lot more like 11 seasons.
In totality the numbers that are thrown around about Jordan’s career are vastly misleading due to the information mentioned above. So if you want a fair assessment of Jordan’s career in comparison to Lebron’s you are going to have to come at me from a much more accurate Per Game statistic instead of total career numbers, and when you really look into it using the 2 seasons he was damn near a corpse from playing in a much tougher NBA at 38 and 39 do nothing but her his per game stats, and the two seasons he played 18 and 17 games are doing his career stats per game no kind of real perspective either. So we’re going to be fair about this and compare Jordan’s best 11 seasons to Lebron’s. Which honestly is going to serve Lebron better because there is no reason to remove his other 5 seasons but I want to hear no bitching about how I did this from Lebron fans so this is giving your guy a better shot. Seems legit to me.
Over his best and truly more accurate 11 seasons Jordan averaged 31.76 ppg, which is considerably higher than his already held NBA record of 30.1 ppg. Lebron over his best 11? 28.17 ppg on , not nearly as impressive as the greatest scorer to ever live. Now LBJ’s assists and rebounds over his career are higher than Jordan’s, and that is largely the argument to be had at most times.While LBJ’s apg and rpg were around 2 a piece higher in each category while comparing those 11 season it still doesn’t make up for the near 4 ppg difference of the two. Lebron’s impacts the game all around more than Jordan did right? Wrong. Jordan may have only averaged 5.9 apg over those best 11 seasons but that isn’t where his team needed him the most, although it may not show up statistically Jordan did what was required of him for the Chicago Bulls. When Jordan was needed to play PG he did and he did it exceptionally. For those that aren’t aware MJ was asked during the 88-89 season to play point for a 24 game stretch, and during those 24 games he averaged 30.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, and 10.7 apg. At one point during this run he had recorded a triple double in 7 consecutive game, this wouldn’t be done again until Russel Westbrook decided he’d be a triple double machine in the NBA. The point of this is saying the argument Michael couldn’t put up the numbers Lebron has as far as rebounds and assists goes is largely invalid, because he could have, he just wasn’t asked to. MJ needed to be a dominant scorer for the Bulls and the focus of every defense they played and that’s exactly what was done. So the next time a LBJ stan wants to throw numbers in your face hopefully you can retain some of this information to remind them of just how skewed those numbers truly are.
I believe I’ve said enough to prove my point here. I’m well aware that most Lebron fans will read this article with the mind set that they’re not going to change their mind no matter what kind of facts I may throw out there. That somehow in a weird was is the beauty of it that no matter what you read or hear, when it comes to sports and your favorite player, you will always think you’re right, the whole point of being a fan. I’ll finish stating my case with the fact Jordan had more MVP seasons, more rings, finals mvps, all defense teams, and a DPOY that Lebron doesn’t nor never will have, all with less time on the court and a whole let less time in his prime. To me this very clearly explains who the G.O.A.T is, but at the end of the day you’ll have your opinion one way or the other. But just know I’m right. Finally I will rest my case with these last wise words in this argument.