Fair to compare?
With 13 full NBA seasons under his belt, LeBron has had quite a career to this point. LeBron has racked up four regular season MVP’s, three NBA Championships, and three NBA Finals MVP’s. These accomplishments are the reason many have either begun to mention him with or even put him above the consensus greatest player of all time Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan played from 1984 to 2003, taking a few breaks in between to play baseball and have some time off. He still has played more games than LeBron to date, making it a little hard to compare the two still. But, with LeBron’s sample size growing increasingly close to Michael Jordan it is now completely fair to compare the two players.
The case for Jordan
As mentioned before, Michael Jordan is considered by most people with knowledge of the game of basketball to be the greatest player to have ever played. Jordan played 1,072 regular season games in his 15 seasons. In those 1,072 games Jordan averaged 30.1 points per-game, 6.2 rebounds per-game, and 5.3 assists per game. In addition to these gaudy raw numbers, Jordan’s efficiency numbers were also mind blowing. Michael Jordan had a career player efficiency rating of 27.91 which happens to be the highest mark in NBA history.
The fact that Jordan was able to stockpile such great statistics extremely efficiently is one of the major boosts to his case.
On top of his otherworldly statistical production, Jordan also boasts a pretty flawless résumé in terms of accomplishments. In his career Jordan racked up 10 scoring titles, six NBA championships, six Finals MVP’s, and five regular season MVP’s.
No other player in the history of the league has ever matched these accomplishments.
With elite statistical production and a bevvy of accomplishments, it is clear that Michael Jordan’s case for the crown is rock solid.
The case for LeBron
Although Jordan has a rock solid case, LeBron seems to be knocking on his door at the very least.
Since entering the league in 2003, LeBron has put up some of the best statistical numbers ever. LeBron currently boasts career regular season averages of 27.1 points per-game, 7.2 rebounds per-game, and 6.9 assists per-game. On top of these amazing averages, LeBron also has 46 triple-doubles which is good for sixth all time. His raw statistical numbers are good enough to rival anyone in NBA history.
Much like Jordan, LeBron is also one of the kings of efficiency. LeBron’s career 27.64 player efficiency rating is second to only Jordan.
In addition to LeBron’s raw statistics, aforementioned accomplishments, and superb efficiency numbers he also has one other thing going in his favor. When LeBron leaves a team, they plummet. When LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010, the Cavaliers went from a 61-win team with him to a 19-win team without him. When LeBron left the Heat in 2014 to go back to the Cavaliers, the Heat went from making it to the Finals to missing the playoffs. Talk about adding value to a team.
Jordan on the other hand, never showed that much value added to a team. Although Jordan’s five MVP’s trump LeBron’s four, when Jordan left the Bulls in 1993, they wont from a 57-win team to a 55-win team. This is not nearly as big an impact as LeBron.
The King of the court
In conclusion, I feel as if LeBron James has finally overtaken Michael Jordan. Although Jordan’s case is rock solid LeBron’s is slightly better. LeBron has proven to have more impact on a team, has similar if not better numbers, and will only continue to build on his already impressive accomplishments. LeBron is officially the King of the court.
All statistics from: basketball-reference.com or NBA.com