The LeBron James vs Michael Jordan discussion will always come up. Right now there is no real answer to the question of who is a better overall player. But whether or not LeBron will be the greatest ever when his career is over is obvious, he will be. Some may disagree but that is only because they are so used to calling Jordan the best. It has been drilled into our minds for years that Jordan is the best ever. We are so caught up in denying that anyone will be better, that we have totally neglected LeBron’s greatness. Here are seven reasons why LeBron will go down as the greatest basketball player ever when it is all said and done, starting with number seven.
7. Pressure and Hype
When LeBron came into the league, there was as enormous amount of hype about him. He was the most hyped up athlete in sports history. He was going to be the next Michael Jordan and the entire world was ready to watch. The amount of pressure put onto him as just a young 18 year old kid was crazy. To have the transition from high school into the NBA like he did was insane. Jordan was good at North Carolina but was not hyped up like LeBron. An enormous amount of expectations were set on LeBron. Whether or not he would live up to the hype and expectations was up to him, he sure has.
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6. Opponent Talent
LeBron is playing in a more talented league than Jordan did. Now LeBron has to go up against multiple superstars, greats, and legendary teams every year. Whether it is Kevin Durant who might turn out to be an NBA great, facing the Spurs in three NBA Finals, or having to play against Kobe during his first stint with the Cavs. Now this is not to say that Jordan didn’t play against great players, he had to take down the Bad Boy Pistons, Bird led Boston Celtics, and Magic Johnson with the Lakers. But once Jordan lost in the late 80’s vs these teams, talent started to fade from the NBA in the 90’s. Overall the talent and skill level is much high in every NBA player now than in Jordan’s era.
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5. Supporting Cast and Coach
Michael Jordan played in one of the most stable situations possible. He had the greatest coach ever in Phil Jackson, a hall of fame sidekick in Scottie Pippen, and the best role player ever in Dennis Rodman. LeBron in his first stint with Cleveland only had Mike Brown and an over-the-hill Shaq. For heavens sake LeBron took a starting lineup of Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, and Z to the NBA Finals. Yes LeBron did win 2 championships with Wade and Bosh but Jordan did not do it by himself either. LeBron has returned to a young inexperienced Cavs team and will try to lead them to some rings. Jordan had it relatively easier with his coach and supporting cast.
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4. All Around Better Player
You could not have built a better all around basketball player than LeBron James. He is not the scorer Jordan was but dominates every other aspect of the game. LeBron pulls down rebounds like a power forward, passes and runs an offense like a point guard, and scores like a shooting guard. We have never seen a more unstoppable force in transition and driving in 1 on 1 matchups. LeBron is a nightmare for defenses because he can score at will, and when you decided to double team him he can make the right pass.
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3. No College Experience
LeBron coming out of high school helped him and hurt him at the same time. It gave him extra years accomplish more in the league. But playing at the college level is an extremely important part of a players career. It gives them time to grow and experience the ups and downs of a higher level of basketball. By coming out early LeBron was just a kid when he started playing. He had to learn so much not only about basketball but about life. It will help his numbers in the long run playing the extra years but the experience he missed out on in college was crucial. We were able to watch him grow from a kid, to a man, to a husband, to a father, and into a champion.
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2. The Numbers
LeBron may not have the career scoring average that Jordan does. But he averages more rebounds, assists, a better field goal percentage, and even a better 3 point percentage. Jordan scores three more points a game than LeBron does, but is not nearly as efficient as LeBron and doesn’t help his team as well in other ways like LeBron can. Jordan has only one more MVP than LeBron and I anticipate LeBron will win at least two more before his career is over. Jordan is 4th on the all time scoring list with 32,292 while LeBron currently sits 20th with 24,913. If LeBron keeps up his current scoring rate he will surpass Jordan in 4 seasons.
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1. LeBron Will Win More Championships
YES! I addressed the elephant in the room, championships. We all know Michael Jordan won 6 titles and currently LeBron only has 2. But LeBron is only 30 years old and Michael didn’t win his first ring until he was 28 so LeBron is right on track. Not only that but LeBron is surrounded by a young nucleus of players ready to explode and win championships. Kyrie Irving is only 23 and Kevin Love 26, not only them but Thompson and Shumpert are young guys as well. Also, no one attracts veteran players chasing rings more than LeBron James. Behind a great front office, good ownership, loyal fans, and a great supporting cast, the Cleveland Cavaliers will win for years to come and LeBron James will finish with more than 6 titles.