Michael Jordan vs LeBron James: Just Stop

DS LeBron James

It doesn’t take much for a sports fan to find themselves in a “Greatest Ever” debate these days…not if you have Twitter on your phone or find yourself eavesdropping at your local sports bar. With the NBA Finals fully under way, and the series tied at one game a piece between the best team in the NBA and the team with the best player in the NBA, there seems to be more focus on Michael Jordan vs LeBron James than the actual series itself.

“Call me when LeBron gets 6 rings!”

“Look at his supporting cast!”

“See that? If LeBron was so great the Cavs would have won the game in regulation.”

This is just a microscopic sample of some of the comments that the keyboard bullies post daily online. Now, this column is not meant to fuel the debate of who is the G.O.A.T., one that that I think is worth debating…but not right now. Not this summer. And not next year, either. Let’s let LeBron’s career fully develop before we have that conversation. After all, it appears as if the man is just now playing the best basketball we’ve seen out of him. It should be clear by now that LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet, so let’s leave Michael Jordan out of it and just focus on the Finals.

This column is just meant to be a friendly reminder to enjoy this NBA Finals matchup. No matter your rooting interest, this should be a VERY exciting time for sports fans to enjoy some truly special basketball. We get to watch the best player in the world go up against a very talented Warriors team led by the MVP of the league.

One on hand, you have the Golden State Warriors. The best team in the NBA all season long, the Western Conference Champions, and winners of 67 games during the regular season. The duo of 2015 NBA MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, known as “The Splash Brothers” offer an extremely exciting style of team basketball, featuring great ball-handling, behind-the-back passes, and 3-pointers from no-business angels. Many people in the sports community pegged them as the favorites heading into the Finals, and maybe rightfully so.

On the other side, you have the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hobbled their way to a 4 game sweep of the Eastern Conference’s number one seed, the Atlanta Hawks, to win the East and send LeBron James to his 5th straight NBA Finals, making him the first person in 40 years to do so. Plagued by injuries, such as Kevin Love suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Boston in the first round, Kyrie Irving getting hurt in the conference finals, only to battle back and suffer a season ending fractured knee cap in game 1 of The Finals, or LeBron’s shoulders hurting from carrying this Cleveland team to their first Finals appearance since 2007, this team can truly go as far as James can take them.

FiveThirtyEight.com gives some statistics that are pretty eye-opening. By taking each team to reach the NBA Finals over the past 30 years, they took each team’s best player, and then proceeded to rate their supporting cast based on a plus/minus system. Steph Curry’s Warriors teammates are the 14th most-talented supporting cast since 1985, scoring a rating of 4.5. On the flip side, LeBron’s Cavaliers team scored the 3rd worst rating of any team to reach the NBA Finals during that same span, scoring a -0.1 teammate rating.
That really is a true testament to how special of a player LeBron James is to the game of basketball. Of the 60 teams on that list rating the supporting cast around their best player, both the 2006 and 2015 James-led Cavalier teams find themselves right there at the bottom.
Now, as previously mentioned, without getting into the “Greatest Ever” debate people love to find themselves in, there are a few things we can do without mentioning Michael Jordan or number of titles.

We can accept that LeBron James is the best player on the planet.

We can enjoy watching the MVP try to will his Warriors team to their first title in 40 years.

We can get excited watching guys like Michael Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert try to fill the void left by superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, as Cleveland looks to end the city’s championship drought of over 50 years.

We can simply watch the NBA Finals and leave all of this “Jordan vs LeBron” talk for another day. Game 3 is on Tuesday night as the series shifts to Cleveland, and if the first two games were any preview, the rest of the series should be incredible. With both games 1 and 2 turning into overtime thrillers, the series is now a best-of-five bout between Golden State and Cleveland…so get your popcorn ready!

+ By Paul Reindl, producer at the Mighty 1090 and ESPN 1700



19 thoughts on “Michael Jordan vs LeBron James: Just Stop

  1. Concerned Citizen

    Lebron can fill a stat sheet. No doubt about it. What sets Jordan apart from Lebron was his killer instinct in the clutch. In those moments, Jordan would hit the shots that took the heart out of the opposing teams.

    After filling a stat sheet for 30+ non clutch minutes, there are those 10 minutes or so where Lebron opts to pass the ball. Not saying that he does it every time but definitely more than Jordan.

    The closest player in that regard to Jordan is Kobe. As Jordan himself said, “5 is better than 2 last time I checked.”

  2. Christopher Lane Haley

    It’s not meant to fuel a debate because there is no debate. Jordan was 6 for 6 in Finals appearances and took the MVP for that series each time. Lebron will be 2 for 4 in the finals when this one is over. The only debate is if Lebron is the greatest player on the planet then what does that say about the state of the league right now.

  3. disqus_8bAWctjEdJ

    You are wrong right from the start. This is Lebron’s 6th finals appearance so no matter what happens he will not be 2 for 4. He has proven that he can take any team to the finals. Having a “Big 3” in your lineup is pretty common now for teams, appearing in 5 straight finals is not. Lebron is the better player hands down.

  4. Chad Clemency

    What sets Jordan apart is Scottie Pippen from day one. First we forget about the 80’s he didn’t lose a Finals because he didn’t make it to one. Jordan lost to the Pistons 3 times once with Scottie Pippen. Also, People want to forget that Shaq and Orlando beat Jordan and the Bulls in 6 games. Well Jordan only played half a season. I will give you the same argument I here “Well he is the best player he should win all the time” FYI Jordan turned the ball over in that game. Shaq left for the west or Jordan may not have one another one. But the bulls went out and got the best Defender, Dennis Rodman which already won two titles with the Pistons. The leage was watered down by 5 expantion teams. Jordan also never faced a team like San Antonio. Which begs to question was Tim Duncan the best ever???? 5 rings 6 finals while Kobe was in his prime… Lebon again is playing with a bunch of 6th men Do to the fact Lebron is breaking records for minutes played in a final. Jordan is great but the 6 rings is getting old. Lets analyze what lebron has to work with in Cleveland and the Miami team he had to carry the final year.

  5. yesanditcounts

    To me LeBron James by far is the best player on the planet…..now. Here’s a question a pose to most people when this debate comes up. If you could some how magical switch Jordan and James soul to the others body, who would achieve more with the others skill set and frame. Not very scientific I know, just an observation.

  6. Ran Karat

    kid, you dont know the history of the game + you are as stupid as it get. bring to your stupid brain, people who watched jordan and saw his capabilities will never agree to compare him to other humans, capish? NEVER!!! just the media and the press will do it to summon retards like you to start speak about the game. people like you are waste of oxigen. scottie pippen came to chicago as bench player avging 7 ppg, orlando of shaq won the bulls coz michael just came from retirement and played only 17 games in the regular season you fucking idiot. next year bulls swept them 4-0. stop spreading the lies you ugly moron.

  7. Ran Karat

    LOL. the amount of hate i have to this generation ugly stupid kids who thinks they knows something about this game is immeasurable. disqus you are as dumb as it gets.

  8. Ran Karat

    Boy you are wrong, MJ stats > Lebron’s ones, dont believe me compare it yourself.

  9. Carlo Segura

    What stats are you looking at ? 4-1 in 60 point game 38 -12 in 50 point game 211 to 60 in 40 point game for MJ! Yes MJ played81 more games. So even with next season in the books lebron wont be close! Rings 6-2/ mvp 5-4 / scorin titles 10 -1/ Dpoy 1-0/ Steals title 3-0 finals Mvp 6-2. ….and the list goes on!

  10. Christopher Lane Haley

    So, after what happened Lebron is 2 for 4 in the finals. Not sure how him being one of the big 3 in Miami has anything to do with him being a better player than MJ. Sure he’s good enough to get his team in the Finals, just not good enough to bring the trophy home with him. Oh, and the Warriors? They won it without having a big 3 on the team.

  11. Eric Iovino

    Jordan played 18 games…that’s not half a season brainiac. And Pippen was NOBODY before MJ took him under his wing. He was a kid with great athletic skills and ball handling. That’s it. It took YEARS to develop a real team, and even still Pippen wasn’t an all star or top player during the first 3 peat.

    Expansion teams or not, it’s a weak argument to suggest that MJ or the bulls didn’t go up against challenging teams because of expansion. Silly really.
    You CLEARLY didn’t follow Jordan during his career. I beg to argue maybe you never watched an entire BULLS GAME pre 96. That Bulls team was quite literally NOTHING without Jordan. He inspired the players around him.. he made Pippen the star he is. They fed off of his energy in a way Lebron could never get his team to do. Lebron is NOT a leader. A great player, an athletic freak of nature? yes. Leader? No. And last I checked, Lebron has a stacked team of all stars on BOTH TEAMS. Considering the fact that he has only won 2 rings out of 6, for 12 seasons played, and MJ 6-0 out of 12 FULL seasons played (injured in 85, . played only 17-18 games in 85 and 95.. guess you FORGOT that too) There is NO COMPARISON HERE. You can be a GREAT PLAYER as Lebron is, and not the GOAT. There is no GOAT title without backing it up with actual Championships. And outside Assists/ rebounds (rebounds BETTER go to Lebron who is technically 2-3 inches taller, and 60 lbs heavier) MJ’s stats, awards, accolades simply surpass Lebron on almost every level. Defense alone, MJ has the edge. Even as a smaller player.

  12. Eric Iovino

    LMAO!!! This is the generation of “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how well you play”…HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I LOVE IT! ONLY in this fucking Hipster Loser mentality could you find people defending the idea of losing, then attempting to PRAISE THE LOSERS over the winners to magically justify their arguments! So just SHOWING UP to the finals means Lebron is a greater player??? REALLY??? Repeat that back to yourself for a minute.

  13. Eric Iovino

    I think your right… the NBA should NOT look to see who simply wins.. But who played “better” win or lose. The MVP should be given to the best player, even if they lose. That’s the argument right? And the Championship should be a judgement call… like a boxing match that goes the distance right? Make up the rules as we go, or better yet just rewrite them. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HIPSTA WHAT??!!!!!!!!!

  14. Eric Iovino

    MJ has him on Stats other than rebounds… assits are close, everything else? MJ wins. Sorry…. Lebron losing more, inspires less, is NOT a leader, and even the stats and awards dont match up. So what is the argument?

  15. Marcos Mata

    I couldn’t agree more.. You got it right.. There were many greats before.. But the one remembered are those who win.. Magic, Larry, Jordan, “Bad Boys”, all of them won Championships

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