The discourse on whether or not james lebron spent Michael Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history reached an all-time high when the first won his 4e championship. The fact that he brings the Lakers another title led many ‘Bron-stans’ to believe that the day had finally arrived when he would be anointed as a ‘GOAT’.
Of course, as things have unfolded since then, James’ case for being the greatest of all time is starting to dwindle. Disappointing seasons in 2021 and 2022 for the purple and gold have only hurt James’ case, despite averaging 30 points per game at 37 last season.
Michael Jordan has never really taken the “GOAT” debate any further than he already has. He even openly stated that it should be the best team ever, not the best player, since basketball is a team game.
Michael Jordan once believed LeBron James would eventually surpass him in 20 years
Michael Jordan is perhaps one of the most confident athletes the sports world has ever seen. Even off the court, playing millions of dollars takes courage. So when he sat down with Cigar Aficionado for a follow-up interview in 2017, it was surprising to see him concede to LeBron James.
“If you ask in 20 years, I’m pretty sure LeBron could beat me,” says MJ. That was in relation to him being named the most popular athlete in American history in a 2015 Harris poll.
In Jordan’s eyes, everything is a question of recency which leads to certain biases. With Muhammed Ali and Babe Ruth being the next 2 after him, it’s safe to say that despite his retirement, Jordan was the freshest in everyone’s mind. So to say that James would overtake him in popularity in 2 decades isn’t too surprising after all.
Will LeBron James be “The GOAT” when he overtakes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in points?
LeBron James is expected to pass Kareem in total regular season points by the end of February or March at the latest. This brought up the question of whether or not another historic milestone would help in his case of being the greatest of all time.
It all comes down to what you value in a basketball player. If you’re looking for enduring greatness and longevity, then maybe LeBron is your guy. If you’re looking for pure dominance over a certain era, Michael Jordan can be your “GOAT” actually, there’s no wrong answer here because it all comes down to opinion.