Who is the GOAT: Michael Jordan or LeBron James?


(Courtesy Flickr)

By Aria Fatahian, Sports Writer


As the new Space Jam movie is being seen by millions of people, people are naturally starting to revive the debate as to who is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT), Michael Jordan or LeBron James?


For this category, Jordan currently has the upper hand. The number one thing mentioned when debating who’s better is the number of championships Jordan has compared to James. So far, this has cemented Jordan as the GOAT in a lot of people’s eyes.

Jordan has a total of six championships under his belt while James only has four championships. However, Jordan went 6-0 in the finals while James is 4-6 in the finals. Due to James’ mediocre record in the finals, a lot of people put Jordan ahead him just for that reason.

Now, the question that arises is, if James gets two more championships before he retires, will that officially cement him as the greatest of all time? A lot of people are 50/50 about this because of what James’ overall finals record would be, but ultimately, if he gets the same number of championships as Jordan, it will be hard to dispute that he’s not the greatest of all time.

Even James’ playoff record is something mentioned when debating who’s the best. At the end of the day, this stat will really decide who’s the greatest of all time and is why it’s so important for James to win a few more championships and improve his playoffs and finals records.


Statistically speaking, James is doing better than Jordan and will have better stats when it’s all said and done. James currently has more career points, rebounds, assists and blocks as compared to Jordan. The only category Jordan leads right now is steals, but James isn’t too far behind him and could potentially beat him by the time he retires.

Considering that James still has a few years of basketball in him, his stats will continue to improve and will continue to bolster him in front of Jordan. For a lot of people, stats are equally as important as championships because it shows how an athlete did individually. So, for this category, James will have the upper hand. For a full side by side comparison of their stats, click here.


Both men have an impressive resume when it comes to the number of NBA awards they have won. Jordan has five regular season MVPs while James has four, and both men have won a finals MVP each time they won a championship, with Jordan at 6 and James at 4.

The rest of the awards vary from category to category. James has 17 NBA all-star appearances while Jordan only has 14 (and James will only continue to grow that number in the next few years), James has more All-NBA selections and All-NBA first team selections as compared to Jordan, but Jordan has more All-Defensive and All-Defensive 1st team selections. Jordan has more scoring titles as compared to James.

Really, you could go all day about who has more awards and show how one individual is better than another, but ultimately, these two athletes are neck and neck in each award category. However, James will more likely continue to keep getting more awards as his career goes along and will ultimately have the upper hand on this category.

Influence Outside of Basketball

Both athletes are considered some of the most influential athletes in all sports. With Jordan’s famous Jordan Brand and James’ huge brand with Nike, both athletes are really “tied” in this category for a lot of people. Both athletes even starred in the Space Jam movies, proving they’re even popular in Hollywood.

Social-media-wise, James has a bigger following and influence as compared to Jordan. Really, this category is equal as both athletes have huge influence outside of basketball and will continue to keep having influence for years to come.

The Future

One thing that James has going for him is his future in basketball. James still has a few more “good” years of basketball within him to secure more championships and to improve his stat line. If James can capitalize in these next few years, he can ultimately seal the deal as the greatest basketball player of all time.

However, it’s now harder than ever to get a championship for James. His age, along with the highly competitive nature of today’s NBA, is going to make it very difficult for him to win more championships in the next few years.

One of the biggest criticisms James has gotten (as compared to Jordan) is his use of superteams. As mentioned earlier, every NBA team has improved drastically making it harder to win a championship in today’s NBA; because of this, James has been a part of or formed superteams to combat this issue.

From his “Big Three” era in Miami to his current unstoppable duo with Anthony Davis, a lot of people are discrediting James’ championships as they feel he’s been “carried” due to his involvement with superteams. This is one of James’ biggest roadblocks to becoming the greatest of all time and if he continues to get “help” from other superstars, his future championships could be discredited and viewed as less valuable than Jordan’s. Ultimately, James will have to prove a lot in these next few years.

Level of Competition

One of the most controversial aspects of the GOAT debate is the level of competition both athletes have had to face. Jordan faced Magic, Bird, Malone, Barkley and whole lot of other athletes from the 80s and 90s, while James has faced Durant, Curry, Kobe, Duncan and a whole lot of other athletes from 2000s and 2010s (and even now in the 2020s).

Really, this is hard to compare because you can’t definitively say that one era is better than another, and you can’t compare the style of play either. However, there is no question that players nowadays are better compared to when Jordan played. But that’s to come naturally as players get better trainers, medicine, resources and more to help them improve.

People often argue and say that if athletes in the 90s had the resources current athletes had they’d be just as good; because of this aspect, you really can’t compare the level of competition. Also, saying that today’s NBA play style is more difficult than what it was back then is also an “unfair” comparison because you can’t determine if either athlete would’ve done better in the other’s era of NBA play. This category will really come down to preference when debating this topic.


Regardless of who you think is the greatest of all time in basketball, Jordan and James are arguably the number 1 and 2 players in NBA history. Both athletes have done a lot for the sport of basketball and their impact and influence will be felt in the NBA for decades to come.


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