Those who think LeBron James is a better player than Michael Jordan ever was have a new statistic to strengthen their argument.
Los Angeles Lakers star James moved ahead of Jordan into fourth in the NBA’s all-time points list when he overhauled the former Chicago Bull great’s total of 32,292 on Wednesday.
It is unlikely to end the debate over who is the greatest of all time, though, with Jordan still ahead in championship wins – six to James’ three – and MVP awards – five to James’ four.
To mark James surpassing Jordan’s points haul, two Omnisport writers make the case for who is basketball’s greatest ever.
Asked which feat was harder out of James Harden’s run of 30 straight 30-point games and Russell Westbrook’s 10 consecutive triple-doubles during the All-Star weekend in Charlotte last month, Jordan replied with a smile: “Six championships, by all means.”
You’d have to think his answer would be the same if he had to factor making the NBA Finals for eight seasons in a row into the equation too.
In an era dominated by hard, physical defense, the notorious Detroit Pistons looked set to reign at the end of the rivalry between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics in the late 1980s.
Jordan’s style stood in stark contrast to the Pistons and his agility and athleticism was unparalleled, making him an enthralling watch for basketball fans across the globe.
He is also a two-time Olympic champion and retains the best points-per-game average of any NBA player in history at 30.1.
LeBron couldn’t wear the number 23 at the Miami Heat because president Pat Riley had honoured Jordan by retiring it, even though the Brooklyn-born shooting guard never played for the franchise. That’s how good he was.
James has dominated a period in basketball, but he has not defined one like Jordan.
Put simply, no athlete in history has had to cope with the hype bestowed upon James – dubbed ‘The Chosen One’ on a Sports Illustrated cover as a 17-year-old – and he has not only lived up to the billing but exceeded those expectations.