Legend vs Legend discussions, no matter the genre, always spark lively and heated debates. All time best Prime Minster, Actor, Rock Band, or even Classic Steakhouse? Comparison chats can relate to everything in life. Given the vast amount of angles and statistics that can be drawn from during a “Best Ever” sports conversation – the verdict can often boil down to very obscure stats. Best ever NBA baller – MJ or LBJ?
MJ and LBJ: Beasts Of The NBA East
Greatest of all-time sports conversations really fire up when the discussion focuses on players that play the same position, in the same league and division, plus those who are from a “similar” era. Generational players earn their place in sports history by winning Championships, dominating their league throughout their careers and making the games they play better because they are part of it.
Tom Brady and Joe Montana have separated in the best ever NFL QB discussion. Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky are largely considered 1 and 1A in the NHL, while a handful of stars, like Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds, are involved in MLB Mount Rushmore chat. Given their Championships won, and impact on the game, Michael Jordan vs LeBron James has become a heated NBA best ever debate.
Michael Jordan Career Highlights
All-American, as a senior at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, NC, Michael Jordan was recruited by many “basketball focused” colleges before he selected North Carolina as his alma mater. Under the tutelage of coaching legend Dean Smith, Jordan and the Tar Heels won the 1982 March Madness NCAAB National Championship. Down by one point, as a sign of things to come, MJ drained a 16-foot jump shot from the left corner that sealed the Tar Heels a 63-62 victory.
That win came against future NY Knicks rival Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. 1984 ACC and National College Player of the Year, Jordan averaged 17.7 PPG during three seasons at Chapel Hill. Foregoing his senior year on Tobacco Road, MJ entered the 1984 NBA Draft and was selected 3rd overall (after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie) by the Chicago Bulls. While Olajuwon went on to earn two NBA Championships in Houston – Bowie never led Portland to the promise land and Jordan enjoyed the last laugh when the Bulls beat the Trail Blazers 4-2 during the 1992 NBA Finals.
Unable to reach the NBA Finals early on in his career, largely due to the Celtics and Pistons, Jordan helped the Bulls earn a playoff berth during his first six seasons. The Motor City “Bad Boys” were a huge headache for the Bulls as Detroit ended their season three times (East Finals twice) from 1988 to 1990. MJ would again have the last laugh though as Chicago swept Detroit in 1991 to capture their first East Final Championship. That started a run of six NBA titles, over eight seasons, as the Bulls rolled the Lakers, Blazers, Suns, SuperSonics and the Jazz twice to close out their dynasty era.
LeBron James Career Highlights
Slated for stardom from a very early age, LeBron James was a “King” in the making from the time he first picked up a basketball when he was nine years old. Joining the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars, prior to high school, James was already a man amongst boys. That was further evident when he began playing at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. During four seasons, of All-Star high school hoops, James racked up 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and dished-off 523 assists.
Named Ohio Mr. Basketball, three times as a member of the Fighting Irish, James chose a path that was initially blazed by super-stars like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant as he skipped the NCAA and jumped straight into the pros. Selected first overall, by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Entry Draft, the Prince of High School Hoops immediately turned into King James and he was hailed as a saviour in his home State. During his first season, 2003-04 as a 19-year-old, James averaged 21 PPG and was named Rookie of the Year in a landslide over Denver Nuggets SF Carmelo Anthony.
Tied with Denver, at a league worst (17-65) record during the 2002-03 season, James helped the Cavs post 35-47 and 42-40 records but it wasn’t enough to make the postseason. After joining the NBA, to open the 1970-71 season, the Cavs franchise did not make the NBA Finals over their first 36 seasons. That changed in 2007 though as The King and His Crew ripped through the Wizards, Nets and Pistons before the San Antonio Spurs swept them in Championship Series. After another three failed attempts at the playoff party – James jumped ship and sailed down to South Beach.
Jordan vs James Key Stat Comparison & Verdict
Finishing our look a LBJ’s career, his much-ballyhooed move to Miami was a well-calculated gamble as he teamed with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to capture back-to-back NBA Championships in 2012 & 13. Returning to his Cleveland Kingdom – King James led the Cavs to their franchise first Larry O’Brien Trophy as they erased a 3-1 deficit and rubbed out the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals. At the time of publishing (05/7/17) James has played 14 seasons to Jordan’s 15 years.
Although James career will run longer, and is still in progress, His Airness has an edge over The King in several key areas. That includes Championships won and NBA Finals MVP (MJ 6 – LBJ 3) Overall League MVP (MJ 4 – LBJ 3) NBA All-Star (MJ 14 – LBJ 13) and NBA All-Defensive First Team (MJ 9 – LBJ 5). Both players helped elevate the NBA at a time when it was lagging but the MJ boost had a bigger impact – especially outside of North America. Jordan also played in a much “tougher” era.
If we could select any one player to start an NBA franchise – Air Jordan would be The Guy. One thing that is not debatable is the superiority of online sportsbooks over Provincial Lottery wagering schemes. Canada Sports Betting recommended linemakers, like William Hill, are far better options for handicapping fans in the Great White North. Take advantage of simple signup, secure financial transactions and bank valuable bonus offers 24/7 at any of these highly respected bookmakers.