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LeBron vs Jordan

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LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#1 » by dougthonus » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:37 pm

I'm going to start out with this:

Not going to talk about stats / awards:
No one probably cares about the stats, MVPs, DMPVs, ROY, or other awards. These two athletes are so highly decorated that it's silly to argue these things. Beyond that, things like MVP were a joke. There wasn't a year in the league Jordan didn't deserve MVP in his prime and same with LeBron. Political reasons cause people to move these awards around, they aren't meaningful. I don't think there is a compelling difference in these areas.

Finals appearances don't matter:
The underlying assumption when someone brings up a finals appearance is that they were the second best team in the league, but that was not the case (and obviously not the case) in several of LeBron's appearances. It also was obviously the case that the Bulls were the 2nd best team in some of their non finals appearances. If you want to argue "second best team"s as meaning something then:
Not counting for LeBron:
2006/7 Cavs - Played the Spurs worse than every single team the Spurs played in the finals Beat 2 41 win teams and a 53 win team to get there. No one thought the Cavs were the 2nd best team this year, nor did they beat anyone exciting to get there.
2017/18 Cavs - Swept by the Warriors in the finals, taken to 7 by the pacers and celtics, every other team the Warriors played got a win against them, the Rockets took them to 7.
Counting for Jordan:
1888/89 Bulls - Clearly the 2nd best team pushed the Pistons harder than any other opponent
1989/90 Bulls - Clearly the 2nd best team pushed the Pistons harder than any other opponent

If you balance out obvious times Jordan or LeBron had a "2nd best" team, they're not both at 8 appearances instead of 6 to 10, and LeBron took many more years to get to 8 than Jordan, which makes it less impressive.

Performance in these 8 series:
Jordan
- 6 wins (1 in 5, 5 in 6), 2 losses (1 in 7, 1 in 6)
- Was the best player in the series every single series, including the losses, no one would ever argue othwerise
- Never had a bad series

LeBron
- 4 wins (1 in 5, 1 in 6, 2 in 7), 4 losses (2 in 5, 2 in 6)
- Was not the best player against Dallas (not even best guy on his team), individually choked huge
- Was arguably not the best player against GS (vs KD) (though still was amazing)

In terms of dropping the rope:
Jordan - Not sure the Bulls underachieved in any of these series, not sure anyone would argue Jordan didn't play well enough to win in any of these series, not sure anyone would argue the Bulls should have won by even bigger margins.

LeBron
- Had worse than expected performance multiple times
- Fortunate to have won 4 due to missed FTs by Kawhi and a miracle 3 by Allen (none of Jordan's chips even went to game 7, the Heat should have lost this one)

In terms of overall ability to lift the team:
Despite teaming up with HOF players on 3 separate occasions every time his team started to get weak, he still never had a team that was an absolute buzz saw. The best team in his era was the Golden State Warriors. Maybe one year with Miami where they defeated the Thunder you could argue they were the buzz saw, Jordan had multiple years where his team was absolutely untouchable and ran roughshod over the league.

Moreover, people expected the Miami Heat to be that buzz saw, they had that talent advantage, but it's hard to look back and not think they underachieved and were extremely fortunate to even get two titles.

On the other hand, LeBron holds a win over the buzz saw one year in defeating the Warriors, something Jordan never had the opportunity to do, because well, there would never be a better team in the league while Jordan was on it. Still, this win, however much aided by the league is a signature win and amazing moment for LeBron. If he had another 1-2 of these, I think it would be very compelling to make the case that he was better than Jordan.

In the end, the case of playoff performance of LeBron vs Jordan is cut and dry IMO. LeBron, in many more opportunities, and Jordan have the same number of best/2nd best teams. Jordan consistently lifted his team to higher performances, had no underachievement on a team or individual basis whereas LeBron did.

If you want to make a case for LeBron you can. That case is built around longevity. He's done it longer than Jordan, started earlier, ended later, and has not needed a break in the middle. He's still going, and still has a chance to improve his resume even more. He's going to compile more regular season stats and probably end his career as the all-time NBA leading scorer. Those things really do matter and are impressive as all hell. We've never seen a perimeter player hold up like LeBron in the past and who knows when we ever will again (his contemporaries certainly don't seem like they will).

When talking best, I don't think anyone cares about longevity really, and quite honestly, if LeBron wins 2 more finals MVPs, then I'm not sure what about the above argument changes, to me, nothing really. Not unless LeBron really beats someone special or does something special similar to the GS victory again.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#2 » by Ice Man » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:00 pm

I'm not all that much for the arguments about winning the Finals, because those results are team dependent. Jordan was head and shoulders better than anybody on the Pistons and yet the Bulls lost 3 straight years. That didn't make Thomas a winner and Jordan a loser. If Scottie Pippen had been a bust, it's quite possible that Jordan would never have won a single Finals.

What *does* impress me is that every playoff series, from his very first against Boston onwards, Jordan was the best player on the court. LeBron can't say that. Nobody else can say that. To me, that's the Jordan legacy. If you are always the best player on the court in every playoff series, then you can stand up and say, "Hey, compare me to Mike." Otherwise, nope.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#3 » by Almost Retired » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:16 pm

I can't be objective. I have a framed MJ Poster on my Office wall. And I cannot stand LeBron. I respect his talent. But I dislike everything else about the man, all the way down to that ugly ass beard he has. I didn't watch a minute of the Finals because I can't stand to look at him. What team is he going to go to next in his never ending quest to Ring shop?
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#4 » by dougthonus » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:20 pm

Almost Retired wrote:I can't be objective. I have a framed MJ Poster on my Office wall. And I cannot stand LeBron. I respect his talent. But I dislike everything else about the man, all the way down to that ugly ass beard he has. I didn't watch a minute of the Finals because I can't stand to look at him. What team is he going to go to next in his never ending quest to Ring shop?


I think its a bit unfair to blame LeBron for bouncing around the league and not Jordan. Different eras and situations. Jordan played his whole career with a first ballot HOFer in his prime. If LeBron had that in Cleveland it might have been different for him too.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#5 » by CBS7 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:27 pm

From a human perspective, I don't blame LeBron, or anyone, from jumping from team to team. I'd hate to be stuck somewhere I don't want to be for years of my life. Also, I don't blame players for not being loyal to an organization that would trade them the instant it becomes beneficial to them.
From a fan perspective, it sucks. Everyone's a mercenary. Players keep signing these short term deals so they can bolt the instant things don't go their way. Home grown championship squads will become more and more rare as time goes on.

LeBron is obviously great. I don't have a problem with anyone who grew up watching him play calling him the GOAT. I disagree, but that's fine. Its close enough to be an argument. Personally I prefer tier lists, with tier 1 being MJ, KAJ, and LeBron.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#6 » by CBS7 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:31 pm

I see Pippen brought up as a detriment to MJ more and more in the GOAT debate nowadays. MJ never won anything without Pippen. LeBron didn't need any single player. Its just silly to me. As if somehow MJ's career would have been more impressive if he jumped from team to team joining multiple allstars. Would MJ be looked at more favorably if he joined Stockton and Malone for a few years, then Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp for a few years, then finished off his career playing with Shaq for a few years? Hey, at least then you couldn't say that he "needed" Pippen. MJ didn't need Pippen, specifically. He just needed a good team. People don't win without other stars (except Dirk)
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#7 » by ZOMG » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:16 pm

CBS7 wrote:I see Pippen brought up as a detriment to MJ more and more in the GOAT debate nowadays. MJ never won anything without Pippen. LeBron didn't need any single player. Its just silly to me. As if somehow MJ's career would have been more impressive if he jumped from team to team joining multiple allstars. Would MJ be looked at more favorably if he joined Stockton and Malone for a few years, then Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp for a few years, then finished off his career playing with Shaq for a few years? Hey, at least then you couldn't say that he "needed" Pippen. MJ didn't need Pippen, specifically. He just needed a good team. People don't win without other stars (except Dirk)


I'm definitely not a LeBron fan, but Jordan did play FOR YEARS with THREE future Hall of Famers. Yes, I'm counting Kukoc in that group, because he's getting in eventually.

That is just ridiculous. And it does matter.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#8 » by dougthonus » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:22 pm

ZOMG wrote:Not a LeBron stan - on the contrary, really - but Jordan did play FOR YEARS with THREE future Hall of Famers. Yes, I'm counting Kukoc in that group, because he's getting in eventually.

That is just ridiculous. And it does matter.


Kukoc wasn't a HOFer in the sense we care about it in this discussion and isn't one in reality, and he's been eligible for 9 years and hasn't gotten in yet, so I'm not sure why you're so sure he's getting in eventually. He was a zero time all-star. Rodman was a HOFer in sort of a weird fringe way. He was such a specialist that he got in for being great at one thing, but lacks the attributes one typically possesses in a HOFer. Pippen is the only guy Jordan ever played with that fits the traditional HOF caliber player moniker when looking at total quality of play.

This argument is simply creating a label (HOFer) then using the value of the label when looking at Jordan's teammates instead of looking at their actual value, because the label value makes them sound WAY better than they are. It's a bad argument. Jordan had great teams, don't get me wrong there, but trying to describe it as him playing with 3 HOFers (besides just being factually inaccurate) grossly exaggerates the already good quality of those teammates.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#9 » by DaMayor07 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:36 pm

Pippen was traded/draft and grew up within Bulls org. LeBron had always top tier talent to play with after his first shot at title. His 2007 Cavs team were capable of winning those games, even winning the series, against the Spurs (they were close games). Compare his 07 team to something like Dirks/Mavs 2011 team, you could argue LeBron's 07 Cavs team were better (which makes Dirks ring that much more special).

Jordan was consistently the best player whenever he stepped foot onto the court; the same cannot be said about LeBron. On numerous occasions, LeBron has been shown up by other players who were considered great but not better than himself. This is not to downplay LeBron's legacy is one of the best to play the game, but to compare him to MJ or even say he's better than MJ is ridiculous.

THIS IS MICHAEL FREAAAAAAKING JORDAN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT LOL

I would say Dirk/Tim Duncan are more GOAT worthy than LeBron, but that is a different argument to be had that isn't being compared to MJ.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#10 » by The Explorer » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:48 pm

The case has always been clear for me. Lebron's advantage resides in his ability to choose his star teammates, his coaches, and who he wants to sign to contracts (see JR smith, Tristan Thompson, Mike Miller, etc etc). The fact that he had this advantage and still lost more finals than he has won reduces the worthiness of his accomplishments. It certainly is not more impressive than the body of work Jordan produced.

Not to mention he is a better and more skilled in more areas of the game than Lebron is. The biggest one being defense. Lebron is known for his chase down blocks, and people say he is more versatile, but Jordan overall was the better defender. Jordan at age 35 still made the all-defensive team, while Lebron barely plays hard on that end of the floor.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#11 » by ATRAIN53 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:53 pm

The argument that just won't go away......

DT edition 2020

My take is this-

IF they played 1v1 - they would trade insane baskets for HOURS. The score would be pretty close.

But Michael Jordan would not quit or end this game until he won.

I guarantee you after a few hours LeBron would be bent over panting and would look at Mike and be like 'OK Enough'

Jordan would be like '"Dude, I'm just getting WARMED UP"


Yes LeBron is bigger
Yes Lebron has done it longer
Yes LeBron has done it with more teams

but NO ONE - and this still holds true of watching every athelete since MJ retired - NO ONE wanted to win more than MJ
His competitve nature absolutlely consumed him, it has made him a lonely isolated guy and probably cost him a ton of friendships. He stopped talking to his buddy Charles Barkley because Barkley said hes a garbage GM. (he is)

I do think he watches LeBron and sees how his teammates rally around him, embrace him and respect him as "King"
I so rarely saw MJ joke around and laugh with his teammates. They showed a little in Last Dance but they also showed his teammates admitting the were scared of him.

LeBrons teammates (smart guys who play hard to win) like him.

bottom line - 2 seconds left on the clock - who do YOU want taking the game winning shot?
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#12 » by nomorezorro » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:02 pm

i think it's pretty easy to make an intellectual case for lebron over jordan, especially because i think the baseline talent in the league is much, much higher than it was in jordan's era.

i also think limiting the judgment of their playoff performances to when they clearly were on a top-two team is unfair to lebron, since so much of the case in his favor relies on him elevating awful talent. the boobie gibson-era cleveland run is probably more impressive than winning a title with the heat.

but, as much as you wanna quibble about the actual significance of narratives, jordan put together a six-season run where he came off as genuinely invulnerable. lebron doesn't have close to the same aura about him, and only winning 2/4 years in miami is a glaring hit on his resume. you can explain away why external factors make championships a shoddy metric for individual greatness, but at a certain point that feels like making a case for cy young based on FIP rather than actual ERA. you judge based on real-world outcomes.

i will say: i understand not really caring that much about longevity, but there's something to be said for lebron still being in the prime of his career as a playoff performer right now. after turning 31, dude is averaging 30/9.5/8 in the playoffs on 54.5% from the field, 36.5% 3pt, 62.4% true shooting. he's averaging a .271 ws/48 in his past four playoffs, which is a mark he only topped twice in his 20s. he's not just a compiler; he could put together a couple of more all-timer playoff runs and it wouldn't shock me
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#13 » by Electric Slim » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:23 pm

ATRAIN53 wrote:LeBrons teammates (smart guys who play hard to win) like him.


And also JR Smith
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#14 » by CBS7 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:25 pm

ZOMG wrote:
CBS7 wrote:I see Pippen brought up as a detriment to MJ more and more in the GOAT debate nowadays. MJ never won anything without Pippen. LeBron didn't need any single player. Its just silly to me. As if somehow MJ's career would have been more impressive if he jumped from team to team joining multiple allstars. Would MJ be looked at more favorably if he joined Stockton and Malone for a few years, then Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp for a few years, then finished off his career playing with Shaq for a few years? Hey, at least then you couldn't say that he "needed" Pippen. MJ didn't need Pippen, specifically. He just needed a good team. People don't win without other stars (except Dirk)


I'm definitely not a LeBron fan, but Jordan did play FOR YEARS with THREE future Hall of Famers. Yes, I'm counting Kukoc in that group, because he's getting in eventually.

That is just ridiculous. And it does matter.


LeBron's played with a pretty long list of future HOFers too. His current team potentially has three (Davis, Rondo, Dwight), which might be a technicality but so is throwing in Kukoc (who if he makes the HOF it won't be for his NBA achievements).

I'm not saying Jordan didn't have good teammates. But zeroing in on the fact that he had specifically Pippen is dumb, when LeBron has had a Pippen level or near Pippen level (reluctant in calling Kyrie Pippen-level, although he was an incredible second option throughout that playoffs and the Finals) supporting cast in all of his championships as well.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#15 » by Ice Man » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:27 pm

CBS7 wrote: People don't win without other stars (except Dirk)


Dirk was very good in the 2011 Finals, but not amazing. Other players have been better than he was in losing efforts, for example LeBron in 2017 and Butler this year. But his teammates played great, for example Jason Terry outscored LeBron in the series.

My point being you are right, teams don't win titles solely because of one guy. You didn't need to qualify your statement.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#16 » by kodo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:29 pm

I have a question.

Are we to factor in Lebron's ability to recruit and create teams? One unique thing about Lebron and wasn't even a factor in Jordan's era is the ability to be a Player-GM. Lebron is one of the best we've seen at this. He actively created the Miami Big 3 w/ Wade, then the Cavs, and now the Lakers and each one has won a title. The entire Lebron-AD thing was set up by Lebron's agency, something he made happen directly. MJ's teams were still constructed by Krause. The most MJ got involved was vetoing Krause's rebuild moves, like trying to trade Pippen for rookie TMac. He arguably would have made some bad moves, because we know he preferred Oakley over Horace Grant who was key for the first run.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#17 » by RastaBull » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:32 pm

I like to first acknowledge LeBron as one of the top 3 greatest players in NBA history. For me it took a while for him to get into that threshold. After Miami, he was still no where near the Jordan debate. 5 finals, appearances, a domination of a league, everything a LeBron superfan would want to throw out there at that point was ver very valid. But it was valid as to how LeBron stacks up with someone like Kobe's excellence. He wasn't close to Jordan obviously.

Going back to Cleveland was a big move that at the end pushed him his legacy a huge step forward. The four more appearances do a little; they are ECF champs, but really 4 appearances doesn't mean that much by itself. That one Cleveland championships was career defining. It really is one of the greatest rings for an individual lead player of all time. Had LeBron not gone to Finals any of those 3 other years with Cleveland, that one win would still have the same effect on me.

Which was to clearly elevate him over Kobe.

Now, looking at his career, imo he is clearly elevated over Magic. They are so similar in their dominance, their influence, but in the Magic-LeBron comparison LeBron's longevity at the very top height is undeniably a difference maker.

Bill Russell is always in my top 4, but it's kind of like he a separate space for him that not analogous or comparable with the rest because it was such a different league.

So LeBron is absolutely part of the Jordan, Kareem debate. And honestly, it's made me think that at end of the day it's just reality that Jordan can be the GOAT ... but it's not the clear runaway GOAT conversation I grew up thinking it was. And it's not just LeBron ... but more of us should be listening to those old bball heads that want to make argument that Kareem is the GOAT (not that you have to agree, but it's def good to hear it out).

Respect your evaluation and OP Doug, so not to sidetrack. But one thing I always ask now for those LeBron-GOAT supporters, is to forget about Jordan (like forget he ever existed, or let's act like we concede he's not even part of the debate anymore) ... how do you make the argument that LeBron is the GOAT of Kareem?
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#18 » by PlayerUp » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:54 pm

Lebron James just won a title so naturally people will start ranking him ahead of Jordan as the GOAT but as the weeks and months go by things will come back down to earth and people will clearly see still that Jordan is still the GOAT.

On a side note, worth noting that Lebron maybe a bit better as a player overall in his mid 30s than Jordan was in his mid 30s. Lebrons advanced numbers in the playoffs are better than Jordans in his mid 30s here. You could argue because Jordans Bulls 95-97 teams were so loaded that his numbers declined. That said, prime Jordan was on another level who could turn it up a notch and had clearly better stats than Lebron.
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#19 » by troza » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:08 pm

The debate is closer than people like to admit and there are valid arguments for both of them. I prefer Jordan and I have my reasons and I guess that in this forum most of us would prefer Jordan. But I don't like some of the arguments that are thrown out there.

I will start with the OP as a starting point and remember things that are easily forgotten.

dougthonus wrote: There wasn't a year in the league Jordan didn't deserve MVP in his prime and same with LeBron. Political reasons cause people to move these awards around, they aren't meaningful. I don't think there is a compelling difference in these areas.


This is far from truth. Yes, Jordan deserved the MVP since 1987 if we count stats or 1988 if we count stats and team record. But we can make a case for Malone in 97 and 98 as Jordan's stats declined a bit and Malone did impress. Not saying that I agree with Malone winning but I saw arguments and there can be a discussion. But... Jordan deserved it in 89, 90 and 93...

For Lebron it is even more clear. Even if he was the best player on the planet at that time, his performances and his stats weren't the best in lots of the seasons he didn't win. This year he wasn't better than Giannis at anything and the only argument is because he was 35 years old. Same can be said about other seasons where he cleary didn't play as hard as he knew during the regular season. And in 2011... he was better than Rose? I think so... but was he much better than Wade that year? It is not clear that he should win the MVP. I give that in 2008 he was already better than Kobe (at least I think he was) and we can discuss that MVP through stats. And I won't talk about the Curry's MVPs but clearly he wasn't the best player during the regular season sometimes.

(If I would want to start a conspiracy theory... it is funny how he always appears ready for playoffs every year... sometimes much better than RS... similar to how Lance Armstrong was always at his peak for the Tour... but I know that he isn't the only one doing stuff like that - Cristiano Ronaldo also does something similar - and that it is smart by him for doing that...)

dougthonus wrote:Finals appearances don't matter:


Just to say that I agree to some extend. They do matter but not as much as people are making telling. And I agree with the way you are thinking. Just to also say that not all final appearances mean the same... Lebron's final in 2011 (beating the Bulls and the Celtics) is more impressive than his finals appearance in 2017 for example... way more impressive, even if both of the time he was on a superteam with multiple all stars.

dougthonus wrote:Performance in these 8 series:
Jordan
- 6 wins (1 in 5, 5 in 6), 2 losses (1 in 7, 1 in 6)
- Was the best player in the series every single series, including the losses, no one would ever argue othwerise
- Never had a bad series


Maybe the Seatle series wasn't that good but I agree it wasn't bad... but we can discuss if he was the better player that series... some people now are pushing for Rodman but I believe that his true opponent here would be Shawn Kemp.

dougthonus wrote:LeBron
- 4 wins (1 in 5, 1 in 6, 2 in 7), 4 losses (2 in 5, 2 in 6)
- Was not the best player against Dallas (not even best guy on his team), individually choked huge
- Was arguably not the best player against GS (vs KD) (though still was amazing)


Still we can give him points for being the best against the Celtics and the Bulls in 2011. And I agree that Durant was better than him.

I will also add that stats show that he had a great series against the Spurs in 2014... I disagree. Because he showed in 2015 that he should have done much more, being more aggressive in 2014 than he was. He was too passive and much more interested in being efficient than making things happen. But I see that I might be one of the few that think that way about that finals.

dougthonus wrote:LeBron
- Had worse than expected performance multiple times
- Fortunate to have won 4 due to missed FTs by Kawhi and a miracle 3 by Allen (none of Jordan's chips even went to game 7, the Heat should have lost this one)


1 - It is true that he didn't play as well as expected in some games through his career, namely in 2010 against the Celtics in game but it is against huge expectations. I would say that yes, he had some bad games on series but maybe we are taking this a bit too far.

2 - Sure that was a big choke by the Spurs and that shot was super lucky... but he did play well in the 4th quarter. But even the Bulls had their moments of luck... game 5 vs the Knicks in 1993 and game 1 vs the Jazz in 1997 come to my mind.

dougthonus wrote:In terms of overall ability to lift the team:
Despite teaming up with HOF players on 3 separate occasions every time his team started to get weak, he still never had a team that was an absolute buzz saw. The best team in his era was the Golden State Warriors. Maybe one year with Miami where they defeated the Thunder you could argue they were the buzz saw, Jordan had multiple years where his team was absolutely untouchable and ran roughshod over the league.

Moreover, people expected the Miami Heat to be that buzz saw, they had that talent advantage, but it's hard to look back and not think they underachieved and were extremely fortunate to even get two titles.


Agree and don't agree. Miami surely were that team with 4 trips to the finals. And the Cavs just weren't that team because the Warriors (and injuries... I will come to this later) happened. But... after seeing Jimmy Butler this year, we can feel the difference of impact between Jordan and Lebron... the way they influence the teams in winning besides the stats... even if it is hard to imagine that from Jordan.

dougthonus wrote:On the other hand, LeBron holds a win over the buzz saw one year in defeating the Warriors


I know this won't be a popular option but the Warriors came out of nowhere and won in 2015 facing injury plagued rosters in all matchups. Sure that doesn't take away their merit but I think that win and the 73 wins in the regular season made them look better than they actually were or the Cavs worse than they were.

Curry played under the expectations everytime against the Cavs without Durant. And that's a fact. The Cavs had clearly the 2 best players in the series, with the Warrior's best player playing worse than expected... isn't it surprising that the Warriors could get a 3-1 lead?

It is still a huge win, something that Jordan never did mainly because he was making the Bulls much better than all others and that's a big thing. But I just feel that people forget some details and overrate that special win to be even more special than it was.

dougthonus wrote:When talking best, I don't think anyone cares about longevity really, and quite honestly, if LeBron wins 2 more finals MVPs, then I'm not sure what about the above argument changes, to me, nothing really. Not unless LeBron really beats someone special or does something special similar to the GS victory again.


I agree about the longevity thing. If it was that important Stockton would be the best point guard ever (he isn't), Larry Bird would not be considered one of the best (when he is) and all these people would have to be making the case for Jabbar since Jordan played when his longevity is even more impressive (it is special now but it was even more rare at that point). And it is more impressive that Jordan won what he did and dominated way more than Lebron even with only 13 full seasons (if we forget the wizards years, 11 full seasons) compared to 17 seasons?

About the other things... well... it is just a personal preference and opinion. I would say that he is in conversation but so is Russel and so many others. Mainly Magic (the guys just spend the whole career in the finals - mostly with a super team and was cut short due to ignorance of that time. He could have played with HIV a lot longer but it was unknown at that time) and Bird (another one that, when healthy, was always in the finals or conference finals. Just to talk about players that had huge impact on winning and good individual stats.


For me... it is Jordan. The rules changed with times and the perimeter guys have an easier time now. Yet Jordan still has advantage in advanced stats (that weren't a thing when he played) in an era where it was supposed to be dominated by big men. Yet... he dominated them stats wise and still eliminated tons of them. And we have some of the best centers of all time playing with him and he was clearly better than them.

As a team member... how many titles were won by a team with the scoring champion? Not many but most of them were by Jordan's Bulls... another thing that breaks the norm.

And the eye test? He was amazing on defense... amazing on offense almost all the time. Can we say that about all other names I told?

Finally... Jordan was bigger than the game in a way that nobody was before him and Lebron isn't even after him. I know that counts little for comparing a player quality but if we think about it... the popularity of Jordan reflected also how amazing he was at that time... compared to now. Lebron is spectacular but didn't we see something better before him? Like... 20 years before him?


Still... this is not clear cut. It is just my personal preference.

Sorry if I was confusing... and sorry dougthonus for using your amazing OP and kind of disagreed with somethings. I just hope that I made sense.

EDIT: Just one final thing... people are now using the Jordan retiring as something to make him less. This works like the longevity. It is impressive the longevity of Lebron but no one ever retired and came back to the top as Jordan did. It doesn't add anything or take it. But still impressive.
troza
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Re: LeBron vs Jordan 

Post#20 » by troza » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:19 pm

PlayerUp wrote:On a side note, worth noting that Lebron maybe a bit better as a player overall in his mid 30s than Jordan was in his mid 30s. Lebrons advanced numbers in the playoffs are better than Jordans in his mid 30s here. You could argue because Jordans Bulls 95-97 teams were so loaded that his numbers declined. That said, prime Jordan was on another level who could turn it up a notch and had clearly better stats than Lebron.


Rules changed making perimeter players having an easier time now, Jordan actually never came back to the level he was before leaving. It was a different game. For instance... Jordan wasn't efficient vs the Jazz in 1998... at least not the way we were used... even all playoffs that year... But when we watch the games, he was mostly the only constant thread in terms of offense of that team. His final game with the Bulls is a 45 points with 1 assist, 1 rebound and 3 steals. But when we see that the Bulls only scored 87 points, that his steals were important (mainly the last one), that on the other side was Malone flirting with an efficient triple double (he had 7 assists) and that there wasn't the same space there is today... it kind of makes it impressive.

Also the training conditions and knowledge were worse than it is today.

Not taking anything away from the amazing performances of Lebron but when comparing different times we should take this into account.

And that is why I don't disregards any of the other all time greats, even Bills Russel because I lack context to his numbers... well, and in Russels case, even the eye test fails me.

That is why I think this is all about preference, of how you feel and so one. All we can do is refute the things that are lies or do not make sense.

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