Why Lebron is Better Than Jordan

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo

We walk in today’s praise world and praise Michael Jordan as if he is some untouchable that has never done anything wrong. How he is the most clutch player in NBA history, and how he led his team to win six titles without losing one of them. We give Jordan all this praise like it is all on him and that no one on his team did anything to help his cause. I am going to give you multiple reasons on why Jordan is not untouchable. I am going to change your mind on what is the most said thing in the “GOAT” talk of basketball.

We blame Lebron James for making it to more finals than Jordan. Not only has Lebron made it to the Finals more than Jordan, but also he has made it there a shocking seven straight times! Jordan, granted, did not lose in the Finals, but he did lose prior to the finals in the playoffs multiple times. Therefore, you tell me, which one would you take, losing in the Finals or not even making it there. Lebron has been an underdog in many of these finals, too. In 2016, Lebron pulled off a historic 3-1 comeback to beat a Warrior team that was much more talented than the Cavs. The Spurs were a better team than the Miami Heat the year Ray Allen hit the corner three in the magical Game Six in South Florida. Jordan and his Bulls were always favored, and his team was filled with great players including Scottie Pippen, an all-time great, and Dennis Rodman, a defensive and rebounding machine.

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Lebron James hugging his first Larry O’Brien trophy after beating the Thunder in the Finals. Photo Courtesy of creativecommons.org

Lebron can do it all. His body allows him to help his team guard any player on the perimeter or in the low post. It’s the King’s versatility that puts Lebron over Jordan on the defensive end. Jordan used his speed and athleticism to shut down opposing perimeter players and generate turnovers. However, James is just as athletic and he is capable of dominating almost any opposing player from point guards to power forwards. He is even capable of playing against some centers on defense. To illustrate the difference between Jordan and James, let us imagine the 2013 Heat playing against the Bulls in Jordan’s heyday. The Heat might use three or four different players to defend Jordan in order to save James’s energy. However, you can bet James would defend Jordan the best and guard him during the crucial phases of the game. The Bulls would not have Jordan guarding James because of James’s ability to overpower him close to the basket.

James is a better passer. He is the best passing forward in NBA history, and is the only player to be in the top 15 in assists and top 10 in points all time. James has averaged 6.9 assists per game for his career, while Jordan averaged 5.3 assists per game. The fact that James is probably a better passer, and certainly a more willing passer; also highlights how James is better able to involve his teammates in the game and move the ball around to find the best shot. This leads me to say that Lebron was the better teammate. He got his teammates involved, and made everyone around him better.

Jordan was known to punch teammates and yell at them harshly, while Lebron is basically a coach on the floor that teaches everyone where to be. Jordan was said to use intimidation to instill fear in his teammates to try and get the best out of them. James is known to use encouragement and shows his trust in his teammates by passing them the ball throughout the game in order to instill confidence in them. In a revealing interview with ESPN sports analyst Chris Broussard this past off-season, James said, “I love seeing the success of my teammates more than anything.” He said he wants his team to feel like a family. Jordan is famously quoted: “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ but there is in ‘win.’” Who would you rather work with?

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Michael Jordan with his famous knack of having his tongue out while playing.Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org

James is the better rebounder. Jordan averaged 6.2 rebounds per game in his career, while Lebron is averaging 7.3 so far. With James’s superior size, it is easy to see why he is a better rebounder.

My final point is the most important. It is who was more valuable to their team. The final year Jordan was on the bulls, his team won 57 games, and the year he retired the Bulls only won two less games with a total of 55 wins on the season. When James leaves his teams, they do not make the playoffs. The year before he left Cleveland, his team made it to the Finals for the first time in team history, and after taking his talents to South Beach, they spiraled into being the worst franchise in the league for years to come. Until he came back. When he left Miami, not even Dwyane Wade was able to lead his team to the playoffs without Lebron. Clearly, Lebron is the biggest asset and the most valuable player to ever play this game. In conclusion, I think the time of crowning Jordan as the greatest basketball player to ever live should not be decided so easily. I think the gap is closing on the GOAT, and in my opinion, it has already been closed. Lebron is the greatest basketball player to have ever walked this Earth.

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