Michael Jordan and LeBron James are two of the greatest NBA players of all time.
It is very difficult to objectively determine who will ultimately go down as the best ever.
Each brings a very unique set of skills and accomplishments to the table.
This week, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith weighed in on the conversation, essentially attempting to settle the debate one and for all.
“I’m gonna always have MJ No. 1.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 22, 2021
“I understand how phenomenal LeBron James is, he’s on the mount Rushmore, I got him number 2 all-time,” he said. “I got him number two in the history of basketball, and you would think I’ve crucified this man.
“But here’s the deal: I saw what Jordan had to endure to get to where he was and to stay there. And the NBA game was very different back then, significantly rougher and the road to prosperity was very much harder. And that is what stands out in my mind. To be 6-0 in the NBA Finals, 6 NBA Finals MVPs, unblemished in Championship round competition, would have went 8-0 if he hadn’t retired after his father passed away.
“I’m telling you right now, to be, because of that, and because of what I saw from the bad boy Pistons, because of what I saw from the Knicks, because of the Cleveland Cavaliers, because of all of those teams — LeBron can’t eclipse that. I’m gonna always have MJ number one.”
Over the last few years many athletes have weighed in on the Jordan vs James debate. Allen Iverson has done it. Floyd Mayweather has done it. Shawn Kemp has done it. In fact, even non-athletes like former President Donald Trump have done it. It is a complex conversation with a lot of nuances.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union clearly aren’t shy. https://t.co/XVprdKabks
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 26, 2021
Although there are some who have argued that James can never surpass Jordan, others like Shaquille O’Neal have charted a clear path to that end result. They believe it’s a matter of when, not if.
Will James be able to escape Jordan’s show at some point and become the GOAT one day? Time will tell.
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