This is surely the debate of the centuries, and we can go on and on analyzing stats and numbers in order to show who is better. However, the truth is that the two players have played in different eras, against different opponents, and with different teams.
Players were not so physically well-trained when Michael Jordan was playing, and they surely didn’t have access to the data or the technology that LeBron James has. Whether it is deep analytics regarding numbers and efficiency, or state-of-the-art machinery that enables a player to extend his career, the differences are there.
Michael Jordan has changed the course of basketball, and his name is intertwined with the NBA organization. Here is a look at why LeBron James can never be better than Michael Jordan:
Michael Jordan did not have it easy in his career, no matter what some people might think. The Bulls were regulars in the Eastern Conference playoffs since he started playing for them, but there was a difficult three-season period where the Bulls were eliminated by the Pistons in every single attempt.
The Pistons used what they called the “Jordan Rules”, essentially double and triple-teaming him. However, Michael Jordan remained with the Bulls and didn’t consider his personal interest alone. His loyalty paid up, as he went on to win the NBA title in each of the next three seasons, before capturing three more titles later on.
LeBron James seems like a much more all-around player than what Micheal Jordan was, mainly due to the buffed-up numbers in rebounds and assists. However, the truth is that Michael Jordan was actually a tenacious defender, besides posting more than 30 points per game throughout his career.
Besides leading the NBA in scoring in ten of his fifteen seasons in his career, Michael Jordan also led the NBA in steals in three seasons. His career average in steals stands at the fearsome 2.3 per match, while he also blocked as many shots as LeBron. He is also the only player to have won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in the same year he won the MVP award.
3. Global Brand
Well, maybe LeBron James has exposure to more people now, than what Michael Jordan had in his career, but the world is so much different now that what it was back then. Social media and TV rights have now put the NBA in a lot more households than back in the ’90s.
However, if you ask anyone who is not related to sports, they will surely know Michael Jordan. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and ask your wife, your mother, or a teenager about Michael Jordan. His brand name is one of the most recognizable in the world, and he did it all without the use of social media.
2. Clutch Shots
There are a few small things that separate great players from legendary players. One of them is the ability to hit clutch shots and win tight games. It’s not that LeBron James has not made numerous clutch shots in his career, but he has also missed on a lot. Of course, Michael Jordan was a much better shooter than LeBron James, so clutch shots were bound to be more easy for him.
However, it is the free throws that can also make a game, or break it, and LeBron’s numbers are far from impressive. His career average stands at 74%, a whole 10 points less than Michael Jordan. Last season, LeBron James connected on just 67.4% of his free throw attempts, which cost them a few games here and there. The ability to remain calm in the final stages of the game is a crucial skill, and Michael Jordan was surely much better at it. He would not trust another man with the ball in a clutch situation, while LeBron James will most likely look to assist.
1. The Undefeated In The NBA Finals
There are a lot of good points here, as LeBron James has made the NBA Finals on eight occasions, and he still has at least five playing years ahead of him. While his eight NBA Finals are two more than the six by Michael Jordan, the latter actually won all six times. Having won all six Finals he’s been to is what truly separates Michael Jordan from LeBron James. Not just the titles, but the perfect run, and the two three-peats.
LeBron James has three titles so far, and even if he managed to capture three more in his career, it would only tie him to Michael Jordan. With his career slowly going towards the final years, LeBron James would have to grab at least four more titles in order to have concrete evidence that he is truly better than Michael Jordan.