NBA Players Explain Choosing Lakers’ LeBron James Over Michael Jordan in GOAT Debate – Bleacher Report

NBA Players Explain Choosing Lakers’ LeBron James Over Michael Jordan in GOAT Debate – Bleacher Report

Michael Jordan is still the greatest of all time in the eyes of NBA players, but his lead over LeBron James is shrinking.

On Monday, The Athletic released the results of its annual player poll, and 45.9 percent of the 133 players who answered the GOAT question chose Its Lightness. This is followed by James with 42.1 percent and Kobe Bryant with 9.8 percent.

Sam Amick of The Athletic noted that Jordan’s lead over James is much smaller than it was in the same poll in 2019 (73% vs. 11.9%) and 2023 (58.3% vs. 33%). %). While some of this may be because younger players entering the league grew up watching James and only know Jordan through highlights, some of the players who chose the King have discussed their rationale .

“I’d say LeBron,” one player said. “Just to be able to do it for 20 years, it’s crazy. I think it’s more a question of longevity that you have to consider there, and (how) still every year he plays at the highest level. With the highest expectations (placed on him), he had everything to lose to reach the championship.

“It would have been very easy for him to not succeed and not meet those expectations, I think he far exceeded them all in one way or another. … Being on the field, more “The closer you are to the game, the more you feel (you understand) how great LeBron is, how he sees things, how he speaks. His impact on the game, his gravity on the game is felt.

Amick noted that those who voted for James consistently pointed to his longevity, which is not surprising.

After all, he is 39 years old and has just completed his 21st season in the league. While he may not be the same player he was in his prime, he still made the All-Star Game for the 20th time in his career this season and helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs averaging 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, 7.3. rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

Nikola Jokić and Luka Dončić were the only other players in the league to average at least 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds this season.

That longevity allowed him to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record last year, cementing his legacy as an all-time great.

“Who should I draft in an all-time draft?” » said one player. “That’s how I look at it, you know what I’m saying? Some people look at it like, ‘Who do I want to take the last shot?’ Blah, blah, blah, all that other crap But in an all-time draft, I’m picking LeBron Why I have 20 years of greatness, and I have someone who plays one through five (point guard up). ‘center).And let me just say that the person I would pick #2 would be Shaq (O’Neal), the most dominant player of all time, so in my GOAT debate I would go 1-2 like that. from a Kobe fan (Bryant).

Another player highlighted this longevity.

“(LeBron) of course,” he said. “I think he’s capable of doing literally everything and winning (titles) with so many different organizations (the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers) and also having the most points in his career, while figuring out how to have longevity in your career Everyone is looking for longevity, and he understood that at the highest level.

James is still chasing Jordan for titles (six to four), NBA Finals MVPs (six to four) and league MVPs (five to four), but even that might highlight the difference between the two.

Jordan’s peak may never be matched. Even retiring for nearly two seasons to play baseball didn’t stop him from winning six championships in eight years and taking over both the league and popular culture as a whole.

But he played 14 seasons interrupted by multiple retirements. James has continued to play at an incredible level over 21 different campaigns and doesn’t appear to be falling from the ranks of the league’s All-Stars any time soon.

Jordan’s peak or James’ longevity?

It’s an issue that divides the NBA community, including the players.


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