Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon has weighed in on the biggest debate in modern NBA history: who is better between Michael Jordan and LeBron James? It is a dispute that seems split based upon generational differences, and Olajuwon’s take clearly reaffirms that.
According to the Houston Rockets legend, LeBron vs MJ isn’t particularly close.
“When people start comparing him (LeBron) with Jordan, then that’s not a fair comparison,” he said, per Will Starjacki of the Basketball Network. “Jordan was a far more superior player in a very tough league, and he was very creative. That’s not taking away anything from LeBron because he is a great player, but it is not a fair comparison because Jordan is a far superior player.”
Olajuwon’s opinion sounds similar to one offered up by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. recently. When pressed on picking between LeBron and MJ, Mayweather went with the latter player.
“I love LeBron,” he said. “But one thing about Michael Jordan, he is going to come out there every night to kill you. Every night. LeBron feels like he playing nonchalant sometimes. LeBron James, I am going to choose, if they played against each other, LeBron James is too big and strong and too fast.
“But if I had to choose one, I’d go with Michael Jordan. I gotta go with somebody that will give it their all every night.”
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As far as Mayweather is concerned, nobody is tougher mentally than Jordan was.
“When the clock is ticking, LeBron gotta pass it and MJ gotta shoot it,” he said. “LeBron James is selling shoes not because he’s passing the ball, but because he’s supposed to go for the kill.”
James is fresh off winning his fourth career championship. He led the Los Angeles Lakers to a dominant showing against the Miami Heat in the Finals this past season, and in doing so became the first player in league history to win the Finals MVP award with three different organizations: the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and now, the Lakers.
Only two other players have won the Finals MVP award with two teams: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who did it with the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, and Kawhi Leonard, who did it with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors.
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James has won the Finals MVP award a total of four times, along with four NBA Championships, four regular season MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals. He has also been selected to the All-NBA First Team a record thirteen times, made the All-Defensive First Team five times, and has played in sixteen All-Star Games, of which he was picked MVP three times.
Jordan, meanwhile, won six NBA Championships, six NBA Finals MVPs, won the league’s scoring title on ten separate occasions, earned ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and won the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Needless to say, both players are amazing – and this debate isn’t going away any time soon.