The debate over who is better, Michael Jordan or LeBron James, has been going on for some time.
As a woman who played competitive basketball since the age of 9 and who started shooting and dribbling a basketball at 3, it is my opinion that James has not even surpassed the great Kobe Bryant. Quite frankly, I find it down right disrespectful that many people try to underestimate the greatness that was Bryant.
James is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball and I am not trying to take anything away from him, but I get upset when people try to put him above Jordan and Bryant.
We know that Jordan went to six NBA finals and has won all six. If he hadn’t quit basketball for baseball for a year and a half, he might have gone to eight straight finals and won them all.
We also know James has eight finals, seven of them consecutively, which is impressive, but he only won three out of those eight finals. I will not elaborate too much on the rings because that is not my number one reason why James is not greater than Jordan.
One of the reasons I will not put James ahead of Jordan is the level of competition they each faced. It took a while for Jordan to get past the Detroit Pistons and just never had to face that kind of competition season after season in his career.
With the level of competition that Jordan faced, he still dominated the game. James just happened to be born later and was blessed with an easier road.
Would James have been as dominant as he is today if he played during Jordan’s era? No, because the players were more physical and he wouldn’t have been able to get away with some of the things he does now. But Jordan would be even more dominant if he played in today’s era.
Some people like to point out that Jordan lost in the playoffs for several before he broke through and won his first title. They also like to say Jordan wouldn’t have won all those titles without Scottie Pippen. But Jordan needed only one other all star.
James has needed multiple all stars. He couldn’t win on his own in Cleveland so he created the mega team in Miami with all-stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. He also needed one of the greatest shooters to every shoot a basketball in Ray Allen.
That is three pivotal players he needed while Jordan only needed one. Then he went back to Cleveland and needed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, and those players bailed James out many times. James has never had Jordan’s killer mentality.
James will not be greater than MJ because he will never win six championships. He will never be finals MVP six times.
He will never be an all-defensive first team player nine times. He will never have a 200 steal and 100 block season and Jordan did it twice. James has 1,300 fewer steals, fewer blocks and more than 1,000 more turnovers than Jordan.
He will never average 30 points per game for his career like Jordan and will never lead the league in scoring 10 times.
Jordan has three more rings, three more finals MVPs, one more defensive player of the year award and one more season MVP award.
James is a rare talent but Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org