How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell?

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How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#1 » by freethedevil » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:45 pm

Lebron has a similar peak. He's going to retire with much better longetivity. The argument for MJ is that he won 3 more rings and a marginally higher % of playoff series whithout weighs lebron's 3 extra finals. Fair enough.

Russel won 5 more rings, made 6 more finals, was the clear #1 on his team throughout as they went to win 90% of their playoff series. That's about a 30% gap. The gap between jordan and lebron's team success is much closer than mj and russell.

How does one argue for mj against one without conceding his inferiority to the other?
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#2 » by Dupp » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:49 pm

Well I think the legit arguments for MJ is that he peaked higher, which there is a good case for.

But when the arguments are herp derp 6 rings :droop: then yeah it’s a double standard because Russell is often an after thought.

I think MJ was a better player than Russell but no ones ever had a greater impact than Russell. Maybe similar level impact but not better. Really when you’re talking Russell, lebron, mj and Kareem you’re splitting hairs.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#3 » by Middle Child » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:50 pm

The argument for Jordan isn’t simply just rings but rings are the ultimate tie breaker if all things are equal between him and LeBron.

Bill Russell isn’t even in the conversation when it comes to GOATs and many basketball pundits agree. His era was simply too inferior to even be mentioned amongst the Elites. But he was a great winner and that’s respected.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#4 » by 1993Playoffs » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:55 pm

Middle Child wrote:The argument for Jordan isn’t simply just rings but rings are the ultimate tie breaker if all things are equal between him and LeBron.

Bill Russell isn’t even in the conversation when it comes to GOATs and many basketball pundits agree. His era was simply too inferior to even be mentioned amongst the Elites. But he was a great winner and that’s respected.


But things are not all equal, LeBron is a better passer, which matters alot, better rebounder, more efficient from the field from 3 etc both players have a case vs each other. After the 2016 its been nearly a toss up for me
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#5 » by NO-KG-AI » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:56 pm

Because Michael didn't cost his team rings with poor play.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#6 » by Lucky Clover » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:58 pm

1993Playoffs wrote:
Middle Child wrote:The argument for Jordan isn’t simply just rings but rings are the ultimate tie breaker if all things are equal between him and LeBron.

Bill Russell isn’t even in the conversation when it comes to GOATs and many basketball pundits agree. His era was simply too inferior to even be mentioned amongst the Elites. But he was a great winner and that’s respected.


But things are not all equal, LeBron is a better passer, which matters alot, better rebounder, more efficient from the field from 3 etc both players have a case vs each other. After the 2016 its been nearly a toss up for me


Is he a better passer? Or is that just because of the role he plays? Jordan in LeBron's role in 88-89 was very good point guard in his own right.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#7 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:59 pm

Because there is an ironic argument that people only assume you think James>Jordan because of age, when the same arguments can be used for Jordan>Russell. People who praise Jordan don't respect Russell because they usually weren't alive to experience it.

That's why it's always really funny when people bring up era bias when comparing James and Jordan, because obviously older players like Kareem, Wilt and Bill have plenty of arguments over Jordan - but people just say those guys played against weak players (which is exactly what some people who are pro James/Bryant say about Jordan).
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#8 » by JayMKE » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:00 pm

MJ has more rings, had a higher peak, and was retired for a couple years in his prime between two threepeats. It's not simply just about the rings but it's still about the rings.

Russell suffers from not having played in the era of TV before the NBA was really mainstream, I don't think him being underrated is an argument from Lebron being underrated as well.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#9 » by norcocredo » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:01 pm

Bill Russell was never the highest scorer on his team. At best he was second, twice. He was usually the 3rd or 4th leading scorer. He wasn’t the offensive juggernauts MJ or Lebron were. They were elite on both sides of the ball, Russell was elite on one and good on the other.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#10 » by clyde21 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:01 pm

because Russell won his rings playing against part time plumbers when there was 6 teams in the league
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#11 » by Petergrifindor » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:05 pm

The argument for Jordan is that he is better than both.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#12 » by ImSlower » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:06 pm

Russell was playing against seven other teams in that era. While no one ever doubts his talent and influence on the game, similarly no one really thinks the best of all time played when the League had so far yet to evolve.

MJ is forever my throne-sitter, but I don't fault LeBron fans for their opinions. Perhaps a concurrent Russell fan would insist that despite the uneven field, he truly was the best if only I'd seen him play back then.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#13 » by bmurph128 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:07 pm

I'm totally fine with people having MJ above LeBron.

Has nothing to do with rings for me though - I despise using that as a measurement for any players in any sport. It contributes to it, but having that as a primary criteria makes no sense.

Take Duncan and LeBron - others may disagree, but I'm very confident that LeBron wins at least five/six championships if you swap he and Duncan - both were first overall picks, just a few years apart.

So if I were to compare Duncan and LeBron, I wouldn't take championships into account, at all.

I feel the same with MJ and LeBron. Before I put LBJ over MJ, I had MJ higher because of his overall body of work - not because the Bulls won championships as a team.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#14 » by Effigy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:08 pm

Because it's not just about the rings. Jordan was the greatest individual player we ever saw and on top of that, he won 6 titles. Bill won 11 titles, but he was on an absolutely stacked Celtics team in a completely different era where only a few teams even cared about being competitive. Remember Bill himself was gifted to the Boston in exchange for the then-Celtics owners bringing the Ice Capades to Rochester in exchange for the Rochester Royals not drafting Russell. Try to imagine that happening today, lol. "The Pelicans are passing on Zion because the Grizzlies offered Pelicans ownership free tickets to Graceland."
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#15 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:08 pm

Saying Bill Russell won his rings against 6 teams is kind of hilarious - for one, by the time he had retired the league had more teams than that. Two, Jordan won his rings in an expansion era...you guys do realize that the more teams does not mean more contending teams right?

The NBA has 30 teams right now - how many teams were favored to win the NBA title last year when every team was healthy? Pretty much just one.

Yeah, Jordan was winning his rings against the newly formed Vancouver Grizzlies - I'm sure that made a big difference.

If there are less teams then that obviously means the talent is more concentrated. If every team in the NBA were cut except 12 teams, then all of those 12 teams would be stronger from head to toe.


The 90s was an expansion era, and using the "hof stacked argument" makes no sense. Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and a bunch of good players - relative to his competition, he had a stacked team. Reggie Miller's second best player was Rik Smiths. Ewing's best teammate was John Starks. Some of you guys are talking out of your butts. Michael Jordan had a great team just like Bill Russell did - lazily saying Bill Russell's teammates are in the HOF (because he carried them there) so Russell isn't that great is supreme ignorance.



The reason why people think 80s basketball and up only matters is only because of TV and marketing. They know who Larry Bird and Magic Johnson is, so they arbitrarily start from there - because objectively speaking 80s basketball is exactly like 70s basketball, the 3 pointline made no difference in how people played at the time.

80s Basketball is much closer to 70s and 60s ball than it is today, in fact 80s ball is closer to 70s ball than it is 90s ball. So really, it's pretty much just nostalgia/era bias/being too young/lack of knowledge etc. Michael Jordan was an 80s player.


Seriously, watch a 80s game and tell me that it is "modern", yet people have no problems blowing Bird and Magic. :lol:
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#16 » by Prokorov » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:09 pm

Dupp wrote:Well I think the legit arguments for MJ is that he peaked higher, which there is a good case for.

But when the arguments are herp derp 6 rings :droop: then yeah it’s a double standard because Russell is often an after thought.

I think MJ was a better player than Russell but no ones ever had a greater impact than Russell. Maybe similar level impact but not better. Really when you’re talking Russell, lebron, mj and Kareem you’re splitting hairs.


MJ never won a ring over a team that had a losing record. Russell early years there were like 6 or 8 teams and he played a sub .500 team in the finals.

i dont count those rings the same as post 80's rings.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#17 » by Lenneth » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:10 pm

When Russell won 11 rings, there are only 8 to 14 teams in the league. So, the competition level was quite different.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#18 » by KrisKringle » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:14 pm

Who in their right mind would have rings as the only criteria for ranking a player?

Lebron has the 2011 finals on his resume. The ultimate tie-break loss.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#19 » by bmurph128 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:14 pm

Also, I'm fine with nobody thinking Russell is the GOAT.

But he played almost his whole career at the same time as Wilt, and even though there were less teams, those two matched up quite a bit.

This irks me because fans act like teams of the past were threats when they really weren't. Jordan and LeBron only beat 1-3 actual championship contending teams every year. Or put another way: the Warriors getting the Blazers in the conference finals isn't boosting their resume. Same for the Cavs beating the Celtics or Raptors. Those aren't contending teams, so while they may be better than what Russell played, so what? On the flip side, he played an all time great at his position.

Which Jordan really didn't do, unless you count Reggie Miller. Russell vs. Wilt would have been like Jordan going up against Kobe or Wade in their primes.
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Re: How can one argue MJ>Lebron and also have MJ> Russell? 

Post#20 » by Prokorov » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:15 pm

HeartBreakKid wrote:Because there is an ironic argument that people only assume you think James>Jordan because of age, when the same arguments can be used for Jordan>Russell. People who praise Jordan don't respect Russell because they usually weren't alive to experience it.

That's why it's always really funny when people bring up era bias when comparing James and Jordan, because obviously older players like Kareem, Wilt and Bill have plenty of arguments over Jordan - but people just say those guys played against weak players (which is exactly what some people who are pro James/Bryant say about Jordan).


Kareem played later into the 70s and 80s and certainly had a GOAT case.

Bill Russell is a great, but his rings certainly dont count as much and he is drastically overrated as a "winner". i mean they arent worthles sand he did top wilt head to head for a couple. but the early russell rings are basically the equivolent of what you get in a box of cracker jacks.

Russells first ring, in 56-57 was in an 8 team league.

THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE HAD A LOSING RECORD!

they played a 34-38 St. Lous hawks team in the finals. 4 games under .500. and it took boston 7 games to beat them.

you think there are superteams now? the talent in 50's was almost all concentrated into 1 team, the celtics. outside of boston not one team in 1957 had a record 5 games over .500

so yeah im not putting russells 1957 ring in the same ilk as lebron over the 73 wins warriors or MJ over the stockton/malone jazz,
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