20 Oct Who is Better: Michael Jordan or LeBron James?
The debate on who is better between Michael Jordan and LeBron James has been once again opened like a Pandora’s box and it has been gaining momentum as of late. But does it really matter who is better? Or is that really the point in all these discussions?
Let’s find out:
What Did M.J. say?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 9, 2015
Michael Jordan has always been frank in answering basketball questions. The interview at the Michael Jordan Flight School camp in Santa Barbara, California on August 9 wasn’t any different. M.J. said he’d pick Dean Smith over Phil Jackson as coach if he had one game to play. He also added that the Bulls’ All-Time team would beat the Lakers’ version of an All-Time team. And when the question turned to LeBron James, Jordan said “no question” he could beat King James one-on-one during his prime.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) August 14, 2015
A week after his Airness’ declaration, King James was asked the same question by Willie Geist of the TODAY’s. Bron’s not so surprising answer was:
“Oh, I take myself. For sure. I mean, I’m gonna take myself versus anybody. I’ll tell you one thing — they’re gonna have to have a few wheelchairs and a couple ambulances there to get us off the floor.”
Like Jordan, James didn’t hesitate. But he didn’t just zero in on M.J., he said anybody. That wasn’t surprising though because James called himself the “Best Player in the Planet” during the 2015 NBA Finals when his Cavs were down 2-3 against the Warriors. The Warriors won the next game and ended their 40 year title drought. James though put up one of the greatest individual NBA Finals performance of All-Time.
A So-So Survey?
— ESPN (@espn) May 14, 2015
Right at around the same time M.J. was asked that question, a surveying company called Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,471 registered users asked the same question, only that it compared the “now” instead of the “primes”. The results were surprising. Only 54% believed that a 30 year old LeBron James would beat a 50 year old Michael Jordan easily. 16% of the respondents said that LeBron would win but not by much. However, 34% still believed that Golden Boy Mike would beat prime LeBron. That’s absurd but more than the actual question itself, it still shows how the public revere and worship Air Jordan 12 years after he last played on an NBA court. And to think that the last image of M.J was that during his Wizards days, the adulation is amazing.
What Their Experts said:
Could prime MJ beat LeBron 1-on-1. How about Kobe? And could a 50-year-old MJ play today? Our panel goes 5-on-5: http://t.co/4UovFCPufZ
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 1, 2013
Sports mogul ESPN joined the debate and asked their own “experts” the same question: Air Jordan versus King James. Prime versus Prime, ESPN’s five-man panel had Jordan winning 3-2. The duo pointed to LeBron’s physical attributes while the three who gave it to Jordan took value in Jordan’s drive, will power and offensive creativity. The panel then inserted Kobe in the debate with prime Jordan beating prime Kobe 4-1 and prime LeBron beating prime Kobe 3-2.
What Shaq Said:
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) August 18, 2015
So after we heard from Jordan, James, a survey, and expert panel; the debate had one more voice to hear and that was the voice of a great philosopher named the Big Aristotle. Yes, Shaquille O’ Neal. While Shaq said the Lakers would beat the Bulls in a battle of All-Time teams ( which Jordan disagreed), he went with M.J on the Prime Jordan versus Prime LeBron question:
“Mike, I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time. It would be an interesting game. Young LeBron was more like (Lakers Hall of Famer) Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up. But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”
O’Neal of all people and experts, perhaps had the answer closest to the facts: basketball statistics.
The Prime Numbers
The numbers for prime Michael Jordan and prime LeBron James are fairly close. http://t.co/QkT8tsIfjU
— Shane Garry Acedera (@hall_of_Shane) August 22, 2015
Comparing the season-highs for both players, ESPN has them going neck to neck. Of course, Jordan was the scoring machine and outscored James by 5.7 points per game. The rebounds are identical while as per Shaq’s analysis, LeBron is the better passer with a 0.6 advantage. No one questions the team accomplishments because the 1996 Bulls own the record for most wins in a season at 72. LeBron’s 66 came with the 2009 Cavs who had Mo Williams, Delonte West and Z Ilgauskas as supporting cast. M.J. had Pippen, Kukoc, Rodman, Kerr, Harper, Longley and Ron Harper with him. Despite these, we still cannot answer the question on who is better: Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
The Best Player in The World?
Jordan vs LeBron pic.twitter.com/RvV0mCE6VT
— Best Vines (@TheFunnyVine) June 17, 2015
But physically, James has every advantage except perhaps in grace because Jordan floated like a butterfly. However, Jordan’s team achievements dwarfs LeBron’s greatest victories. And while some say that Michael Jordan is clutch and LeBron isn’t, Jordan’s championship squads always had the better supporting cast than any of LeBron’s teams. Having said these though, I can’t really say for sure who is better because their careers never overlapped and they never played against each other. Maybe Michael, Maybe LeBron. I don’t know.
What we know though are these:
Every tweet by LeBron James costs roughly $140K:
LeBron James sponsored tweets valued at $140K, or $1K per character http://t.co/Uohu7QL6td
— King James ♛ (@LeBronJames) August 20, 2015
While Jordan won’t do any endorsements less than $10M:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 15, 2015
These figures have come out as the debate has been resurrected. Talk and talk about who is better and while we’re getting no definite answer, the brands of Michael Jordan and LeBron are getting bigger, that’s for sure. Does anyone of them really care who is better during their prime?
RELATED IN THE SKYBOX…