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Is LBJ the next MJ?

While Jordan trumps James' numbers in 4 of the 7 categories, it isn't by much. Their most notable separation is the roughly 6 more points a game that Jordan scored than James. However, one could argue that among the high of quantity of quality scorers in today's league, one player simply can't match the unbelievable feats of players of the past on a consistent basis. Additionally, James is considerably more efficient than Jordan, edging him total field goal percentage and finding better success beyond the arc. It is because of this offensive efficiency, his ability to crash the boards, and his knack for distributing the basketball while also being a lock-down defender that makes LeBron James quite possibly the most complete basketball player ever. But that does not make him the greatest.

Statistics are somewhat of a poor way of judging which player is better, only because the game has changed quite a bit since the days of Michael Jordan. One could argue in favor of Jordan that today's league is hardly on par with the defenses that Jordan faced so LeBron's numbers don't stack up. While this is partially true, there are far better reasons to argue why Jordan is still the sport's all time greatest. Let's part ways with the weaker one first though.

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Michael Jordan never lost in the NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls are a pristine 6-0 in the league's championship with each of those wins coming under the high flying exploits of Air Jordan. LeBron James on the other hand, has not had the same kind of success. In three finals appearances as a player, James is 1-2, finally lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy last June with the Miami Heat. Again, one could argue that James did not have the supporting cast that Jordan did, but that was supposed to change with James parted ways with Cleveland and took his talent to South Beach, but perhaps there was a one year adjustment period. Either way you slice it, LeBron has simply been unable to match the Finals success of Michael Jordan. If the Miami Heat can't produce a title in their third straight Finals appearance, LeBron's resume becomes that much weaker compared to Jordan's.

To me, one of the biggest reasons that Michael Jordan is still the greatest ever is because he completely revolutionized the game of professional basketball. As one of the most famous people to play the game, Jordan popularized the sport around the world. A nation formally obsessed with NCAA basketball was now glued to their televisions to watch Michael throw down against opposing teams. He was a living legend. His impact on the game is almost indescribable as everyone wanted to be "Like Mike." LeBron James has certainly become a player we love to watch, but it's hard to imagine anyone rivaling the fame of stardom of His Airness. However, the career of LeBron James still has many years to go.

Right now, I cannot say with confidence that LeBron is better than Michael Jordan. The game has changed and we'll never be graced with the awesome display of Jordan and Lebron playing on the same court. To some people, the debate about Jordan and LeBron is a no-brainer. In the years to come, LeBron could amaze us even more just like Michael Jordan dazzled basketball fans of the past, and we may be able to have this conversation once again, but right now, Michael Jordan continues to reign as basketball's greatest.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 01/26/2018


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