Who is the GOAT? Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18: Chicago Bulls players Dennis Rodman (L), Scottie Pippen (C) and Michael Jordan (R) hold three of the team's four recent Larry O'Brien trophies 18 June at a rally for the team in Grant Park in Chicago. Thousands of fans crowded into the park to see the NBA champions. (Photo credit should read TIM ZIELENBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

On March 6th in a game versus the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James passed NBA legend Michael Jordan for fourth all-time in scoring in NBA history. James was filled with a wave of emotions immediately after the moment. He climbed over his basketball idol. Once again, the Jordan versus James debate has been raised. Many people will still choose Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history. Now that James has surpassed him in scoring, is it time for Jordan to pass the torch? Who is the greatest player of all time? Let’s settle this debate once and for all.

Who is the GOAT? Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James

Career Stats Comparison (Regular Season)

Points       Rebounds     Assist      FG%       FT%     3P%

Michael Jordan           30.1            6.2            5.3       49.7       83.5     32.7

LeBron James            27.2            7.4           7.2        50.4       73.6     34.4

Both Players have played 15 seasons in the NBA. Jordan leads James in points per game and in free throw percentage. Jordan averaged at least 30 points per game for nine seasons, eight of which are consecutive. James leads Jordan in every other major category. James also played in more regular season games -1190- than Jordan has -1072-. It is worth noting that Jordan missed four seasons due to retirement.

Playoff Stats Comparison

Points       Rebounds     Assist    FG%     FT%     3P%

Michael Jordan           33.4           6.4           5.7       48.7     82.8     33.2

LeBron James            28.9           8.9           7.1       49.1     74.3     33.2

Both players have reached the NBA Playoffs in 13 seasons. Both players have had extraordinary games and moments. Jordan averaged at least 30 points in 12 out of 13 playoff appearances. However, James has played in more post-season games. James has never been eliminated in the first round. Also, James has more NBA Finals appearances (9) than Jordan (6), including eight straight appearances. Jordan, on the other hand, has enjoyed more championships than James.

Awards & Accomplishments

MVPs     All-Star     Championships   Finals MVPs   All-First Team

Michael Jordan                 5            13                 6                    6                10

LeBron James                  4            15                 3                    3                12

The number of awards and accomplishments of both players speak for themselves. Jordan has one more league MVP than James. James has been selected to 15 consecutive All-Star games. Among the NBA world, the separation between the two comes down to the NBA Finals. Jordan is 6-0 in the finals, winning finals MVP with each championship. James has won three finals MVPs but has a record of 3-6. Although James and his teams were the underdogs in seven of out his nine NBA Finals appearances, fans and analyst still view that as a downside of his case against Jordan.

Who is the GOAT?

As mentioned before, many fans and analysts still consider Jordan as the greatest player of all time. The main reason is Jordan’s unmatched success in the NBA Finals and his biggest career-defining moments. Jordan has accomplished great feats in fewer games. James is the more skilled player between the two. James is better at passing, rebounding, shooting, and defense. However, James has not surpassed Jordan as the greatest player yet. In order to take over that title, he must win a title with the Lakers. If he accomplishes that goal, the debate will be over. James could become the first player to win a title in both conferences. Luckily, he has a few years remaining. But as of right now, Jordan is still the greatest player of all time.

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