LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan in Finals – Not Even Close

by Kent Sterling

"Hey, Dre, I gotta finish getting my ass kicked by the Spurs."

“Hey, Dre, I gotta finish getting my ass kicked by the Spurs.”

Talk radio hosts need to talk about something during the off-season, so there are inevitable discussions comparing players of different eras, because LeBron James is the best player since Michael Jordan, those two are examined.

Last night, as I watched the San Antonio Spurs destroy the Miami Heat, I thought about two things – how LeBron James looked ordinary in a Finals game in a way Jordan never did, and whether LeBron pays any attention to how badly he’s portrayed in the new Neon Power Beats commercial when he puts Dr. Dre on hold while he finishes a workout.

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Not only did LeBron James score 15 points with no free throw attempts last night in a passive effort that hung his team out to dry in a pivotal game three, his record as a scorer in 18 NBA Finals games pales in comparison to Jordan’s in 35 games.

Here are some statistics:

  • James has never scored more than 32 points in a finals game.  Jordan scored more than 40 six times, and 55 once.
  • James has scored 30 or more points two times.  Jordan scored more than 40 six times, and 55 once.
  • James has never scored more than Jordan’s NBA Finals average of 33.6 ppg, and Jordan never scored less than LeBron’s average of 21.6 ppg.
  • James has tallied 10+ assists five times in 18 games.  Jordan averaged 11.4 in his first NBA Finals.
  • James has scored under 20 in seven finals games, including all three games during this series.  Jordan never scored less than 22 points in a Finals game.
  • James worst game was in Game Four of the 2011 Finals against Dallas, scoring eight on 3-11 shooting.  Jordan’s worst finals performance came in Game Four of the Utah series in 1997 when he scored 22 points on 11-27 shooting in a 78-73 loss.

Jordan played in his last NBA Finals 15 years ago, so no one under the age of 20 remembers seeing him play under the bright lights.  Not only did Jordan have great moments that made him an icon, he almost never failed to exceed expectations when the pressure was on.

Jordan’s Bulls went 6-0 in finals, while LeBron’s teams are 1-2 with a very real chance of being 1-3 this time next week.

While ESPN drools over a simple James’ block on Tiago Splitter’s attempted dunk in game two, Jordan’s excellence was routine on both ends of the court.

If a youngster starts an argument in a bar about the comparative excellence of LeBron James over Michael Jordan, you have two choices, ignore him as an idiot not worth your time, or dominate him with a flurry of numbers and attitude that leaves him dazed.

There is no debate.  There is no question.  Jordan was a singular talent who put his stack of chips on the table in every game.  No one ever got a competitive advantage on Jordan.  James is a great player who has shown an occasional willingness to quit.

That’s the difference.

Another difference is that the Jordan vs. Bird game of horse for McDonald’s was an infinitely smarter branding effort that this weirdness with LeBron working out alone, answering a call from Dr. Dre, and then puts him on hold for an undetermined period of time.  When he returns to the call, James says, “Talk to me.”  Other than Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad”, who says that?

By the way, I welcome new Twitter followers.  No spam, just passionate sports stuff @kentsterling

106 thoughts on “LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan in Finals – Not Even Close

  1. stephen langel

    You’re absolutely right, Jordan was better. But Lebron is young and I believe he will continue to improve as Jordan did throughout his career. So, comparing Jordan’s entire career with the first few years of Lebron’s is an unfair comparison.

    Also, while Jordan was undeniably better throughout his entire career, Lebron was good enough to kick your Pacers right out of the playoffs this year and that is great. : )

    Reply
    1. williest1

      “But Lebron is young” – Dude…he’s been in the league for 10 years now. MJ won his first title within 7 years. What other excuses do we have for Bron-Bron?
      And the fact that the Heat STRUGGLED against the bottom half of the Bulls ends this ridiculous Lebron love-fest lol.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        Yeah they struggled alright. How many games did the Bulls win? That’s right, they lost 1-4. #deadArguement

        Reply
        1. FreshPrince

          wat does having more rings mean then who is a better individual in a sport cause people have to realize that rings doesnt define a player ya say mj the best robert horry has more rings 7 bill russel has 11 im picking jordan over both of them so bring up individual things players did now whos a better basketball team duh the bulls in winning championships but lebrons a better rebounder blocker passer faster stronger but mj also finished his career and showed hes the greatest now its lebrons turn to show he can be the greatest hes still in the middle of his career and he got 20,000 points quick faster then kobe in his tenth season and kobe is at 30,000 mj is in his 32,000 lebron is going to pass mj in assist rebounds and blocks and possibly scoring watch lebron is coming to that debate to be the greatest

          Reply
    2. Fernando Martinez

      Jordan had 3 titles in his first 8 seasons in the league. Going 3-0 in his first 3 attempts. 3 mvp finals.

      Reply
  2. Anthony

    Yes, Jordan performed better in the Finals. But this is not the only “big” stage, and MJ got a lot more help in all 6 of those than Lebron has gotten in 3 of his (2011 being the exception).

    Nice trick – data mine the stats that back you up, instead of showing their complete lines.

    Reply
    1. ryan

      Except…Lebron is being passive, he is the superstar. His team feeds off HIS energy not the other way around. Notice how Jordan would score more than 40 points multiple times with a high assist average, that’s the sign of a leader. Lebron shrinks in the moments- just face the facts, Lebron is no Jordan.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        Like finding a few scriptures from the Bible and misquoting them to your own preference — well done. Lol.

        You have egg on your face too. #Heat

        Reply
      2. FreshPrince

        hes not jordan hes better then jordan jordan is a better scorer all this talk about jordan just better then lebron is BS all those games in the finals that mj didnt do well and vs lebrons bad games isnt fair cause jordan had bad games but jordan obviously had a better squad then lebron if lebrons team pulld through as well this lebron choking in big moments wouldnt be an issue to lebron haters all lebrons bad gameshet brout up i never heard anyone say a thing about jordans bad moments like that game he got locked up by Ladi Divoc wen he was on lakers or game 4 vs utah wen his point guard saved him wih ten straight points and ray allen saved lebrons career wat about steve kerr saving mj finals like all these things said about lebron its not his fault its the teams as much as his and having less rings he was on cavs jordan wouldnt have got a ring with them either its all about timeing and who your playong with jordan is still the greatest but lebron a better player even if lebron gets 5 points a game he will give 11 rebounds and like 9-10 assist 2 blocks and like 1 steal that bad game basketball is not just about scoring and thats wat makes lebron a great player he can do more then just score nout saying mj cant lebron just does it better excpt score and stea and beong clutch and if you watch lebron play lebron never has to it a game winner go clutch caue his team always blowing a team out or just lost had more then 5 losses but only had like. 5 game they got blown out the only person i dnt think is lutcher then lebron is kobe cause kobe missed more then he made and lebron made more then he missed im not lnockn kobes greatness but hes not clutcher thenn lebron look at the numbers and dnt go off wat you hear unless have proof and im telling you to look it up so proof wat im saying but hes not clutcher then lebron mj stillthe goat lebrons the best and why people hattn on lebron ya no you would want hom on your statn 5people be knockn lebron cause he dnt go to your team the year he went to the heat laker fans or bulls or any fan think its not fair lebron and dwade and bosh ok of lebron went to lakers steve blake kobe lebron pau gasol and andrew bynum is that line up fair hmmm ok bulls derrick rose lebron come on thats not fair to mvps on the team ok westbrook and james jarden lebron keven durant serge iblocka 3 scoring champ and 4 time mvp celtics rondo paul peirce lebron kg and perkins lik any team hes going to end up not on a “fair” team annd jordan said he wouldnt call magi or bird thas a big diffrence from chri bosh and wade,bosh shouldnt be a allstar if lebron join teams with kobe and durant then he should jave made that statement but magic and bird and jordan together is way more dominent then wade and bosh as a big 3 mj shouldnt even have said wat he said he obviously wanted tv time

        Reply
    2. adam

      The difference is Michael took over regardless how the team was playing and he forced his will regardless so in the multiple finals performances where pippen averaged 15 points on 34 percent and 41 percent.in the 97 finals Jordan averaged 32 points 7 rebounds and 6 assists on 46 percent and scottie averaged 20 points and 3.5 assists on 42 percent but other than that the next highest scorer was tony kukoc at 8 points per game on 40 percent. Jordan played like a man amongst boys everytime and never left doubt who the best in the world was

      Reply
    3. Tortfeasor

      A lot more help?!? I’ll give you 2007 vs. the Spurs. But LeBron has Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade is a two-time Olympian, won the Finals MVP in 2006, is a 9-time NBA all star, has made the All-NBA team in one way or another 8 times, and is the all-time leading scorer of the Heat. Bosh is a former Olympian, an 8-time NBA All-Star, the all-time leading scorer of the Raptors, and was the 4th overall pick out of HIGH SCHOOL. When the Heat formed the Big 3, Wade and Bosh were considered along with LeBron to be in the top 15 players in the league.

      You want to compare them to Pippen and Rodman? OK, fair comparison (although Pippen would’ve never made it close to the level he made it to without Jordan’s help or presence). Outside of rebounding and defense, Rodman didn’t do much…but I’ll give that to you just to save the argument. But those were the last 3 titles. The first three were Pippen and Horace Grant–a good player, but nowhere near a top-level talent.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        Bosh went to Georgia Tech for a year, but other than that you are dead on. Lebron has tons of talent. Wade is diminished and Bosh has been inconsistent. But Ray Allen has stepped up and had big games while being extremely efficient. Miller and Chalmers have had their moments. Think of how crazy it is that the media looks to how Norris Cole or Mike Miller are playing to see if Lebron is getting help. Would MJ give a crap how either of them were playing?? No because he would have his 35 to 40 pts and it wouldnt matter if they scored 5 or 15. Bron is being outplayed by Danny Green. Enough said.

        Reply
        1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

          Looks like your wrong. Jordan was a ball hog of course he scored 35 to 40 points a game because he took every other shot. Jordan had plenty of help, Kerr, Pippen, Rodman, etc. If Pippen didn’t play great defense, if Rodman didn’t grap all those rebounds, and if Kerr didn’t hit all those 3 pointers the bull would of never of won anything.

          But for Leborn he will go score, rebound, assist, and play great D. James does more then Jordan ever could. Jordan the big ball hog. Lebron got his second ring. averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists for the finals. 2 tripple doubles in this years finals as well. Oh yeah Danny Green did’t win anything.

          Reply
          1. Punishment03

            U must be thinking of someone else cause mj averaged more rebounds and assits the lebron. Also 6 is more than 2 and jordan never had a game seven and has never lost a series so ya hes better than lebron. Dont get me wrong lebron is good but not as good as mj

          2. Mike

            Saying Michael didn’t play good enough defense takes away attention to his defensive player of the year award, something Lebron never won.

          3. kentsterling Post author

            Anyone who busts on Michael Jordan for his defense never saw him play. People are singing Lance Stephenson’s praises for defending periodically in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jordan never took a possession off.

          4. mikedotsun

            You obviously have not seen Jordan play. Jordan was waa an avatar of basketball as he was master of all basketball elements. He was even a better passers-by than Lebron ever was. Don’t believe me. Jordan averaged a triple double while he played the point early in his career. He also averaged a triple double in the 91 finals vs. the Lakers. Jordan did whatever was required of him for his team to win. He was the greatest. There is no camparison between he an Lebron.

          5. kentsterling Post author

            Not true at all. Not only did Michael Jordan not average a triple double in the 1991 Finals, he never reached double digits in rebounds during any game in the series, and there are no stat breakdowns based upon what position he played. If you are going to argue your point, at least bring accurate data.

        2. FreshPrince

          its not like danny green was driving he shot wide open 3 has a record in the finals nice ok tell me this who got locked last 2 games and lost there ring view…..danny green danny green he dnt even peform the best he scord the best lenord performed the best all 7 games lenord showed up he put good defense on bron but st end of the day who got the ship end of story lebrons still finals mvp back back 2 time that shit stanl dnt it euuhhh

          Reply
      2. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        How did Jordan make Pippen a great player. Pippen could of averaged 23-25 points a game for his career, but Jordan being the ball hog that he is had to take 30 shots a game, and Pippen would of been a superstar on any other team. Pippen had to tone his game down so Jordan could be the best on the team.

        This isn’t Wade of the past or Bosh either for that matter. Wade had missed to many games, is always hurt and dosen’t even average 20 points in the playoffs anymore, he has cealry lost a step. Bosh is star but far from a superstar. He is to soft down low and is not a great scorer or finisher, and dosen’t rebound to good for his size.

        Pippen is a one of the 50 greatest players of all time a Hall of Famer, and Rodman was the best rebounder ever and a great defender, and unlike Wade and Bosh they always should up in the playoffs. Jordan had plenty of help.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Jordan made Pippen a better player by enforcing a work ethic that required Pippen work tirelessly to improve. It was the off the court influence that made Michael a great leader and helped Pippen become the best he could be.

          Reply
          1. FreshPrince

            why does everyone say that jordan didnt get a ring untill pippen came i dnt care if jordan left and pippen dnt win one without him he took the bulls without jordan to the conference finals an jordan didnt go to the finals intell pippen got the bulls scottie was a big part of tje finals as much jordan was of course jordan just did more and for the all the greats they dnt make the second best player on the team better thats like sying lebron made wade better wade had a ring before lebron shaq made kobe better shaq put lakers on his back but if kobe wasnt there they wouldnt have fot a 3peat durant wouldnt make it to the finals without westbrook its never the best player making another big reason of a team successful its always that 6th man that person that doesnt get credit its every team thats like this eccept the bobcats

        2. Byron a.k.a. B.James (@Bjames904)

          At the end of the day Lebron is a “Great” not “Good” player…Bron is a forward not a guard like MJ but have the same roles “Mr. Everything!” Lebron is better than Pippen, Better Defense Than Bird and Oscar Robertson and Dr J. He is the best Small Forward ever. So then you compare him to the off guards like Kobe and Mike and he has earned the comparisons. He averages 27-7-7 in the regular season and 28-8-7 in the playoffs. Let him finish his career first. This argument has no validity until then.

          Reply
          1. kentsterling Post author

            James has been in the NBA for 10 years. We know who and what he is. The comparisons are less than valid for a bunch of reasons you don’t mention, like the eras. What kind of player would Oscar Robertson have been given the training advantages and facilities of today? There are a million impossible to answer questions that make true comparisons valuable only from the perspective of entertainment value.

          2. justin

            usually shooting guard and small forward have the same roles, the Mr. Everything. point guard facilitates, power forward and center control the lane and board but shooting guard and small forward must be able to do everything!

      3. FreshPrince

        its other way around jordan wouldnt went anywere without scottie and without jodan scottie went to the confrennce finals and since lebron been on the heat wade hasnt lead team i
        n scoring assist or rebounds

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          To say that Jordan wouldn’t have gone anywhere without Pippen is madness. Without Jordan pushing Pippen to develop his game, you wouldn’t know his name.

          Reply
  3. Mike

    LeBron has been in the league 10 years. By the time MJ had been in the league 10 years he had 3 rings, 3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, Defensive POY, 7 scoring titles, and 6 All Defensive First Teams so if you want to compare where there are in their careers it’s STILL not close. Anthony, what other “big” stage is there? East Finals don’t count for anything if you go home a loser. Just ask my Thunder 🙂

    Reply
    1. williest1

      THANK YOU! I’m getting annoyed with all of this ‘new age’ fans who are clueless about the history of the game. They cannot wait to crown Bron-Bron as the greatest when he nowhere NEAR the level of Jordan. Sickens me >:-(

      Reply
      1. FreshPrince

        its not even people tryna crown bron hes already king and its people tryna lnock lebron and says mj will dog lebron 1on1 or just better overall player mj dont think he can dog lebron he ssod he can beat him and lebron can beat joradan ima lebron fan i think hes better tjen joran,overall yes but mj has 6 rings 10 scoring titles 5mvps and more but lebrons the best snd mj is and probably will always be at the end of the day the GOAT its not knowing history of the game its just not given were credits do like you csnt say lebron isnt better jordan cause if 6rings thats a team thing there both freaks and leads there team mj isnt greater then lebron cause rings its wat he did in and out of the game that made mj the goat and you can argue lebron is a good or better then jordan and lebrons carreer isnt even over so lets wat tell then

        Reply
    2. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

      Your numbers are wrong, James is 28 by 28 years old Jordan didn’t even come close to Lebrons numbers.

      James at 28 years old has won more championships then Jordan, more finals MVPs then Jordan, More regular season MVPs then Jordan, More total points, rebounds, assists then jordan, higher 3 point %, more 3 pointers made, And he about doulbed the amount of tripple doubles then Jordan had in his career.

      Lebrons cleary done more by the age of 28 then Jordan ever did.

      Reply
  4. Nicolas

    Michael Jordan is the greatest player that ever played. He rose up to the spotlight on big stage games while LeBron time and time again cowarded down in fear.

    Also, I believe this Stephen guy that posted is a closet MJ fan.

    Reply
    1. stephen langel

      Well, my brother Nicky just posted. MJ is the greatest ever. I just don’t like the kind of person he is. And Nicky, you just hate Lebron because any threat to Jordan incenses you. Ha. Plus, this post seems motivated by some sour grapes that Lebron ousted Indiana.

      Reply
      1. ryan

        Lebron is no threat to Jordan…Ball don’t lie and either do the rings or the numbers, facts are Jordan is undefeated in finals appearances and lebron is about to be 1-3.

        Reply
        1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

          Lebron is the King and wil become the greatest of all time. Jordan’s days as the greatest are coming to an end. By the time James is done he will be better then Jordan.

          2 rings by 28 years old for Lebron, 1 ring for Jordan.

          Oh yeah James and the Heat won!!!

          Reply
          1. Ryan

            Hey Lebron guy, Jordan made everybody around him step up to his game. His ferocity made Pippen into the HOF complimentary player that he became. It’s no mistake he won 6 championships with different personnel…he demanded it. It’s well known he punched Steve Kerr in practice for not pulling his weight. Kerr’s the first guy to tell you Jordan was right. Bottom line, Lebron’s great, but he doesn’t have the killer instinct like Michael. And by the way, Michael chose to go swing a bat for two years….had he not, he’d have 8 rings. That’s no joke! His first full season back he won his 4th ring. No one seems to mention that little tidbit. Lebron had to join a dream team situation to win. Not Michael. Lebron is soft compared to his airness.

  5. Eric in Pa

    James have 2 other Big Stars(Bosh&Wade) plus a Star in Ray Allen. Jordan had Pippen, he did have Rodman till the last 2 Years. There will NEVER be another Player like Jordan, James had to leave Cleveland and join other Super Stars to Win his Title, Jordan stayed with Chicago to Win all SIX of his.

    This is coming from a Wilkins&Dr.J Fan.

    most of u that post on here never saw Jordan play, better players back then and they all played DEF unlike today’s game.

    Reply
    1. john

      There might be overall athletic upgrade from today’s athletes like the youngesters would say, but they certainly are quick to forget a 40 year-old Jordan + 20lbs dropping 44 on them youngesters. A young Jordan would tear them up today.

      Reply
    2. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

      I saw jordan play, and Lebron has alot more skills then MJ.

      If Lebron played back in Jordan’s era he would of dominated. No had checking rules. That means you could get more physical 6’8 260 Lebron would man handle the NBA at that time, and the athletes are better now bigger faster and stronger Jordan did’t go against guys like Kevin Durant or Paul George. Big guys that are fast and strong.

      Reply
      1. GProf

        Sorry but can’t help BUT comment… Sorry kid! Everyone who REALLY watched and LIVED the 80’s and 90’s saw that the NBA now is soft compared to those eras. You believe Lebron is strong? He’s strong in a soft league… you’re comparing the likes of Kevin Durant and Paul George to tough Hall of Famers in Jordan’s days?

        You’re putting to much premium on size when rules have changed from a defensive stand-point to an offensive one? Why? The NBA now wants to “protect” its investments… thus the soft league.

        Lebron is 6’8 and 260lbs… where do you see such a STRONG guy… get dropped (or rather FLOPS) on point guards? Just check out Dereck Fisher. Lebron is good for this generation… but people can see that he doesn’t like contact… (when his opponents gives him a sample of his medicine)… heck, opts (prepares) for a flop (to get calls) and hate it when people are “too” physical… again, the league now is SOFT… the “too” physical he said is normal in the 80’s and 90’s… some of the normal fouls back then will be called as technical twos now.

        If Lebron can’t handle and is uncomfortable with these generation of “too physical” plays… how can he handle the league back in the 80’s and 90’s… answer… he can’t? Why? Because the big PFs and Centers… heck even the PG’s then… will give him something to think about if he attempt to drive to the lane.

        He probably will NOT be able to score 30 points against the Bad Boys of Detroit… and will probably be flopping at tip-off.

        Reply
    3. Ian

      LeBron left Cleveland for obvious reasons; it was Cleveland. No one leaves to play in Cleveland. With an owner (Dan Gilbert) unwilling to spend on top tier free agent talent vs aging over-the-hill talent, he took HIS talents elsewhere.

      LBJ left to follow Super Stars? An aging DWade and Bosh, who scored 0 points in game 7 of the ’13 Finals. Some super stars…

      Jordan NEVER had to face zone defense during his Bulls runs where defenses could stack the box, force him to shoot jumpers. Man-man defense, Jordan knew there was no one player that could check him. And he was right.

      Jordan struggled just like LBJ. Never advanced past Sweet 16 while the leader at UNC in ’83, ’84. 63 pts vs Celtics…and lost. Some leadership. Bulls lost in Round 1 in Jordan’s first 3 seasons. Pistons dared Jordan to shoot, punished him in the paint in ’88, ’89, ’90, all Bulls losses. How is that any different from the struggles LBJ endured?

      I’m an MJ fan, but he had bad games; 5 of 19, 11 for 26, 13 for 29, 6 for 19, 9 for 26… and these were FINALS games. Jordan is the best, but his career is over. leBron is just entering his prime. LeBron’s bad play came in Finals in ’07, ’11, and Eastern Conf Finals in ’10. No different than what Jordan struggled with his first 8 seasons.

      At least LeBron made 2 finals appearances through his first 8 seasons. Jordan’s first Finals arrived at season 8.

      In the end it amazes me: so many people admonish “only The Lord can judge me”. Speaking to the notion that their deeds will be judged once their life is complete, not during it. And yet we vilify LeBron DURING his career, not when his careers work is complete. Ergo the negative article and comments on June 12 after the Game 5 best down by the Spurs — already writing his obituary.

      Don’t judge a book until you’ve finished reading it.

      Reply
    4. Fukumasa Masuda

      MJ was far better than LBJ in every way especially in the NBA Finals. MJ NEVER missed when the championship was on the line. LBJ missed critical shots and without Ray Allen, he would not have won his second championship. There is the difference between MJ and LBJ. MJ is a leader and a clutch player when it counts the most. LBJ often chokes in the NBA Finals like he did against the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. MJ made his teammates better. MJ developed Scottie Pippen from a non all star to one of the greatest players. Even Scottie said in interviews that without MJ, he wouldn’t have become the great player that he turned into without MJ.

      Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      LeBron vs. Kobe is a better debate than Michael vs. LeBron, but between LeBron and Kobe I’ll take James. Better defense, better rebounding, better teammate. As scorers, I’ll take Kobe by a narrow margin.

      Reply
      1. Eric in Pa

        Kobe and LeBron are both Great Players but if it came down to one last shot to Win the Game i would want Kobe taking that Shot.

        i do wish that the NBA would get a Rule like the NFL and have Kids stay in College for at least 3 Years before going into the Draft. it would make me want to watch College Ball more then just in March.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          I would be happier with the baseball model – either go to the pros after high school or wait three years. It would be silly to ask a player like LeBron, Kobe, or Garnett to sit through three years of college to start earning cash.

          Reply
          1. Khalil The Windy City Kid

            I agree. If the young man is good enough don’t hold him back for an injury to take his career and we talk about how great he would’ve been had he not gotten injured….plus most of those players are going pro to take care of their families, why stand in their way?

      2. General ZOD

        I hate comparing generations so I’d agree with you that the comparison between Kobe and LBJ are better since they did meet and battle in their primes. LBJ is obviously the better athlete and is just a freak basketball player. Kobe though has that “you know you’re fucked” aura that shines during the toughest games. Im kinda turned off at how LBJ has seemingly stepped down from his usual dominating self, during the past 2 games. I mean, the Spurs D is daring him to shoot and HE IS MISSING those open jumpers… thats not good. Kobe would make them pay for sure if they gave him those shots. IDK though, its wrong to judge since the series ain’t over yet.

        Reply
      3. Khalil The Windy City Kid

        Kobe is still better than LBJ. I would take Kobe over LBJ because Kobe is a better scorer and he is not afraid of taking a game over. He was by far one of the best clutch shooters in the game.
        I would still take Kobe over LBJ when the game is on the line.

        Reply
        1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

          No Kobe is not, Lebron averages 27 a game for his career. Kobe only averages 25 a games for his career. Lebron’s career average is higher then Kobe’s. So Lebron is a better scorer.

          I take Lebron because he is a better rebounder and passer, James is a better all around player then Kobe. Lebron can cover a point guard or a center.
          Kobe could never cover a center.

          Lebron has been clutch the last couple of years and he’s got plenty of time to get even better.

          Lebron didn’t need Shaq (greatest center of the last generation) to win his 2 rings. Shaq won 3 finals MVPs when Kobe was playing with him he didn’t win any of those.

          I take Lebron over Kobe

          Reply
    2. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

      Kobe was a scorer like Jordan was. But Lebron is all around player like Magic or Bird of. James does more on the court then Jordan or Kobe could ever do.

      So James is a the best player he has more skills then they did. Or anybody since then

      Reply
  6. Fazza

    See this is what really annoys me. firstly this article is completely about scoring. Jordan is a better scorer than James no comparison. But that’s about all I’m giving Jordan. How can you compare Jordan’s entire career vs lebron’s who is just about half way through. What you should compare is Jordan at 28 and lebron right now. Do that and see how much these stats change. But the part that really really makes me laugh is that Lebron get’s crucified for that 2007 finals. He was 22, Jordan couldn’t even dream of making the finals at 22. You say Jordan never failed under the bright lights, which is very very true. And lebron has, also very very true. But Jordan failed to get to that bright light a lot more than James did. It just sounds like people are saying James would have been better off not getting to the finals….. I’d rather lose in the finals that not be in it at all. It’s not about how many finals you lost, it’s about how many you won. If you play one on one basketball and you shoot a perfect 9/9 and I shoot 10/357 I still win. You can’t say cause you never failed to score therefore you won, I put myself in the position to score a lot more than you. The same applies with the finals. Lebron has put himself in that position to win more.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      So according to your logic Fazza the Bills was the best NFL team of the 90’s even though they never won a title. Again if you compare them 10 years into their career it’s still not close.

      Reply
      1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        The bills didn’t win any superbowls even though they played in 4. Lebron has won 2 championships. What are you talking about?

        By age 28 Lebron has done alot more then Jordan did at 28 and its not even close. More rings, Finals Mvps, regular season mvps, more total point scored, more total rebounds, more total assists, more tripple doubles etc.

        Reply
        1. Ryan

          You realize Lebron didn’t play in college right? That means he had 4 years on Jordan in the NBA. Jordan accomplished more in less time smart guy.

          Reply
    2. Khalil The Windy City Kid

      Key word FAILED!! MJ reached the Finals 6 times and won 6 times!! What’s the point of making it to the finals if you can’t win!!??

      Reply
      1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        Key word MADE if you can’t win the finals then at least you made it to the championship which plenty of other teams would love to play in and have a chance to win.

        So by your logic if you don’t win the finals.
        Their is no point of even making it to the playoffs!!!
        So you would be happy with a lossing record every year!!!
        You must of never played team sports!!

        Reply
    3. kentsterling Post author

      Jordan was a superior defender to LeBron, although LeBron is damn good.

      At some point we’ll be able to compare the full careers of MJ and LBJ. Until then, this is what we are left with.

      Reply
      1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        Lebron is a superior defender to Jordan, see its the other way around. Jordan couuld never cover a center or power forward he was to small.

        When its all said and done I think Lebron’s career will be better then Jordan, the KING will be the greatest ever.

        Reply
    4. Chris

      Yeah he couldn’t dream because he had to beat Bird’s Celtics and the Bad Boy Pistons. Two alltime great teams. The East is utter garbage now. Other than the Big 3 Celtics for their first two years (year 3 they started to get older and KG was injured) there hasn’t been a single legit team in the East since Lebron has been in the league.

      Reply
      1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        Lebron has to go up against better athletes now a days they are bigger, faster, stronger. Kevin Durant, Paul George. Jordan could never cover them he is way to small. Lebron can cover them.

        The guys are alot more phisically gifted now.
        Their was no players back then like a 6’9 230 pound Kevin Durant who is fast as a shooting guard or a 6’10 Paul George who is just as fast. The athletes back then were like college kids compared to now.

        Reply
    5. justin

      that’s why fg% is overrated. it’s not about how much you miss your shots, but how much your shots fall. kobe put himself in a position to score more than lebron. kobe is a better scorer and he made countless contested shots. lebron cant even hit OPEN shots during the finals series against the spurs.

      Reply
      1. Jordan was a ball hog and had a big ego

        FG% is more important then the total points you score.
        If you take 30 shots and score 25 points thats not good. If you take 17 shots and score 25 points thats good or better. You hurt you team by jacking up shot after shot if you can’t make them. Thats why the Lakers lost to the Pistons in the Finals Kobe kept on shooting but couldn’t make them. Kobe can’t do anythig else like rebound or pass so they lost

        Lebron career avg point 27 Kobe career avg points 25. Lebron is a better scorer, passer , rebounder , defender. Lebron did win his second ring Kobe will never win a ring again.

        Reply
        1. justin

          if you take 30 shots and score 30 points is better than taking 15 shots and scoring 20 points. heck, even 1 point can decide which team wins in the final sec. Kobe can rebound and pass if he wants, but he’s too selfish and he always wants to be the hero which sometimes makes or breaks the team. I will agree that Kobe hurt his career by becoming too selfish. if Kobe has the true leadership qualities of MJ and lebron, instead of forcing the game by shooting more he should let the game goes to him like for e.g. focusing on defense and rebounds more etc (go read Phil Jackson’s book). if you’re talking about stats, then let’s crown Oscar Robinson as the GOAT. his stats are WAY BETTER than lebron.

          Reply
  7. Khalil The Windy City Kid

    Jordan is by far the GREATEST player of ANY sport in his era…PERIOD! What he did for Nike and the NBA cannot and will not be done again….if someone tries, they’ll just be imitating MJ!! LBJ is so far from being compared to Jordan that its just insulting…for one LBJ needs 5 more Finals rings to even begin the conversation!! Greatness in sports is generally judged by the championships you’ve won…LBJ has just ONE and he had to join his friends (Flash and Bosh) to do that!! Jordan took on the challenge of STAYING in Chicago to win championships…true competitor!!! So please STOP comparing LBJ to MJ and compare greatness to greatness…and that would be Kobe Bryant to MJ….now that is the fair comparison. Kobe came in as a kid and took the NBA by storm with his talent, arrogance and brashness…won 5 rings and maybe 6 when he returns. Yes I’m a Kobe fan…why? Because he reminds me most of MJ….NO ONE ELSE comes close!
    LBJ is a exceptional player in his own right and will one day own many of the NBA records before its over but he (LBJ) does not have MJ’s drive and competitive spirit to win at ANY COST!! The way LBJ is “shrinking” in pressure Playoff game situations…while MJ simply EXCELLED and stamped his name in the minds and history books of an era!!
    Ohh by the way…I’m a born and raised Chicagoan…I remember the day MJ was drafted by the Bulls (out of all the dumb picks they finally got it right that time!!) and every Air Jordan moment until he finally retired….Washington don’t count!! lol.
    Bottom line…There will never be another Air Jordan so stop trying to compare. How can you compare a man who put the AIR in Nike!!

    Reply
    1. Eric in Pa

      for the younger people you cant have Jordan and LBJ’s stats side by side to see who is better by the age of 28 cause Jordan went to College and played 3 Years for UNC.

      also Jordan is a Leader unlike LBJ who Followed D-Wade and Bosh down to Miami. Back in those days no Super Star would follow another to their Team cause they liked a Challenge.

      The NBA is nothing like it was back then, i don’t like David Stern at all think its time for him to go. ever since that Ref got put in Jail for Fixing Games i think this League is Fixed.

      Reply
  8. Mark

    I love how this site only discusses points like that’s all that matters. You certainly don’t think like how lebron plays. Lebron passes the ball and tries to involve the entire team because he knows that’s when the team is at its best. Lets see some Jordan vs lebron rebound and assists numbers.

    Reply
    1. Eric in Pa

      Jordan was a SG, LBJ is a SF some LBJ is gonna get more Rebs plus LBJ has Star’s on his Team that can shot Jordan only had Pippen. if Jordan had the Miami Team that LBJ has, this Finals .v.s. San Antonio would have been over.

      Mark you must be a young guy cause stats don’t me anything, it’s all about the Rings and LBJ has 1 and Jordan has 6.

      LBJ is 1-2 in the Finals, Jordan 6-0. maybe LBJ can get to .500 by the end of the Week.

      Reply
  9. chris

    I like both players Lebron and Jordon, but useing you guys logic the greatest player to ever play the game is Bill Russel. He has 11 rings to Jordans 6 so for all you saying its not about stats its about rings you now have to change your greatest player from jordan to Rusell.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Different position. Comparing Russell to Jordan or James is unfair to all. I believe Russell to have been the greatest competitor of all time – regardless of sport, but making a comparison between anyone other than a center and Russell is a useless exercise.

      Now comparing Russell to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain would be fun.

      Reply
  10. Ash

    Chris – what don’t you understand? Kent’s whole piece was not based on rings it was based on stats and performance on the NBA biggest stage, the NBA finals. In case you cant read it’s a complete mismatch in what LBJ has done so far in 4 finals performances vs MJ over 6 finals. The fact that the best player in today’s game has not scored more points in one finals game than MJ averaged is shocking.

    In 40 years from now if someone looks at the resume for the great basketball player who ever played the game, they simply cant have the performances in big spots that Lebron has on his resume – you simply cant. MJ’s career is over and he doesn’t have these huge stains that LeBron has on it in the biggest moments. The greatest player ever doesnt have NBA finals number like Lebron. Throw in all the times when he played in Cleveland when he simply disappeared in big playoff games and moments and the list grows longer.

    If you never anymore proof that Lebron will simply never have a resume to be considered the big player ever remember MJ played in the hand check era where you could put two hands on guys and its was super physical…LBJ plays in watered down NBA where you cant breathe on someone (let alone hand check) or its a foul. Breathe too hard and LeBron wants a flagrant foul 🙂

    LeBron does lead MJ in one Category – crying you fouls, he has a huge lead in that category.

    Reply
  11. Rochelle

    To all the Lebron James haters I would like to say yes MJ was a great player in his time. Now MJ time has passed which is where Lebron comes in, he is the best player in the NBA right now. Just like MJ Lebron has grown and still is growing better with time. MJ has some things he has accomplished and Lebron has somethings he has accomplished in a short period of time. People need to leave MJ in the pass his time been up now its Lebron time to shine. Bottom line LEBRON JAMES IS A BEAST.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      Jordan accomplished “some things”? Yeah that’s an understatement. He forever changed the game of basketball…No biggie. None of these guys would have the endorsement deals they have if it weren’t for MJ. Before Michael there was no such thing as a Nike deal, in any sport. Regardless of records Lebron may break, his impact on sports in general will never come close to that of Jordan. There was a time when Jordan could’ve run for president and come close to winning…if not win. You obviously are too young to have seen Michael play. It wasn’t just that he won, it was how he won.
      Over and out!

      Reply
  12. Leelee

    The Dallas Mavericks team blow Miami out in the 2011 NBA
    finals so basically the miami team can be beat. The Miami
    team are arrogant little pricks who makes stupid faces
    when they win a game. When miami lost to the spurs in
    game 5 didn’t anyone notice they weren’t making faces
    then, because they were losing.The miami team is
    very immature and they need to grow up. Even the
    Indiana pacers beat them and they are weak as hell.
    Had the miami team played the old Chicago bulls
    back in the early 90s days with Micheal Jordan
    in his prime the bulls would have annihilate
    them.

    Reply
  13. Sha

    Well, Lebron vs. MJ is just a stupid comparison.

    Honestly, when your own teammate outplays you in a finals and you have yet to have a finals that compares to his best (Wade), when for years of your career Kobe Bryant was the better player and you admitted as much, calling him “amazing”, when you team up with 2 other superstars in a league with few super stars, one who’s almost as good as you at the time, when you choke multiple times, post a finals average that’s lower than MJ’s career low single finals game, how can you even be compared to the greatest of all time? It’s silly.

    If you’re not a dumbass, and there’s an all-time draft, you take any of MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Magic, Hakeem, Duncan and you’ll have a better chance of winning the chip when it matters than with Lebron. Kobe was supposedly going to surpass MJ and the comparisons were even stronger, and he ended up around the 9 spot. The same will happen to Lebron. His midrange game is far too crappy to even be considered close. Oh and as for rebounds, people are idiots; of course forwards are going to rebound more, that’s there job and they’re closer to the basket. People don’t realize that MJ is the 6th highest rebounding GUARD of all time. He also won defensive player of the year and the scoring title in the same year. He also posted 32/8/8 the year he played point guard and was ball dominant like Lebron. He won 6 chips, putting a franchise on the map out of nowhere, and 6 finals MVPs, never taken to a game 7, won scoring title every year but rookie season (minus Wizards days). So…. what has Lebron done that MJ hasn’t done? Only this last year’s FG% when he picks and chooses his shots with frickin Bosh/Allen/Wade alongside, no double teams and 10 PPG less than Jordan? That’s the only thing Lebron homers even say, but then he sucks in comparison to MJ the harder it gets; playoffs, than finals. That’s how you know the greatest; how they play against the greatest. Let me know when Lebron puts in 69 in the playoffs against debatably the best team of all time. What has Lebron done that Jordan hasn’t? Cause I can tell you many many things MJ has done that Lebron hasn’t. Here’s a fun stat – 50 point playoff games since 1984 – Jordan 8, rest of the league combined 13, Lebron 0.

    Reply
  14. Nathan T.

    You’re comparing apples to oranges dude. Come on. LBJ is a player in the Magic Johnson, Scotty Pippen mold, capable of posting a triple double seemingly effortlessly on any given night. The pure scorer on that team is Wade, so any comparison between Jordan and a Heat member is only valid if that Heat member is their pure scorer, Wade. You’re a sports commentator? And you don’t get that?

    Reply
    1. DaBest

      Absolutely agree with Nathan T. LBJ is all-around amazing with being able to guard all positions, make big plays, and post triple doubles. He’s as great in his game as MJ was–just different. If you’re truly going to compare the two, then these other factors that make a great player great need to be discussed,not just number of rings and baskets made.

      Reply
  15. Aleksi

    The most amazing thing about jordan to me is that if hadn´t lost interest in basketball and taken a year off 1994-1995 to play baseball, he could have won 7 rings in a row. He is pretty much the reason (or at least a huge reason) why great players like Miller, Malone, Ewing or Barkley never got a ring – because Jordan won everything in his prime. Maybe Lebron is just entering his prime and we´ll see same dominance from him? Maybe the league has changed and it´s more difficult to do that nowadays?

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      He was out the entire 93-94 season and came back in March in 94-95. If he hadn’t left, he could have won eight in a row.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        Coulda-woulda-shoulda. Had Jack Nicklaus known in 1960 that a kid would rip up the PGA Tour starting 27 years later, perhaps he’d convert more of those 2nd place major finishes to wins. Maybe he’d have 30 majors! Lol.

        Revisionist history doesn’t suit you.

        Reply
  16. Ian

    Wow, this piece of self-righteous drivel looks downright pathetic now that the Heat won. Just goes to show, don’t judge a book until you’ve FINISHED READING IT. #LongLiveTheKing

    Reply
  17. Alex

    Jordan never lost a finals but it took him basketball’s most winningest coach in history, a future hall of famer, excellent role players, and 7 years to get there at the age of 28. LeBron got there in 4 years with a decent coach, no considerable help, at the age of 22. And you wanna hold losing the series against him? Please. Get off Jordan’s jock

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Phil Jackson is the winningest coach in history largely because of Jordan, and Pippen is definitely a hall of famer because of the impact Jordan had on him. You are making great points against your own argument. Thanks for weighing in.

      Reply
  18. Dan

    Seriously, Jordan couldn’t shoot from 3 pt range (his career avg was 33%, i.e. mediocre). Lebron shot over 40 % last year, and he’s still improving. Lebron shot 56% this past year; Jordan never came close to that. Jordan averaged 6 rebounds and 5 assists for his career. Lebron can guard all the positions on the floor; Jordan, not so much. Before you weigh in on the GOAT crap, let this play out. Personally, I’d draft Lebron now over Jordan. One on one, Lebron would destroy Jordan. Remember, Jordan used his physicality to intimidate his opponents. On Lebron, he’d just laugh at that, and then throw Jordan down on his ass.

    Reply
    1. justin

      lmao! MJ used his physicality to intimidate his opponents like Charles Barkley and other great CENTERS with a STRONG MENTALITY. you are a joke if you think Lebron is as strong PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY than these GREAT CENTERS. smh.. like what Stephen A Smith and Skip Bassless said, Lebron is the weakest superstar MENTALLY. i’m done with you.

      Reply
  19. Carl

    Two different types of games, lebron is a facilitator and jordan was more of a scorer. Jordan not losing a finals doesn’t mean Lebron can’t dethrone him just because he has lost twice, every legacy is written differently, and if you don’t agree with that your just stuck in the past like every typical stubborn old man that doesn’t give james a chance. Lebron is a more improved Magic Johnson in my eyes and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person that agrees with this, and if Magic got 5 let’s see how far this more improved Facilitator goes… (James is a more improved Magic because he is a better scorer).

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      People who evaluate Jordan over James are old? Well, I guess that settles the argument. People not yet able to drink legally never saw Jordan win a championship and have no idea what they are talking about, just like I have no inkling whether Bill Russell was the cause of the Celtics run of championships, the 1956 gold medal, or his championship contribution at San Francisco, but I enjoy listening to the viewpoint of those who did see him.

      James bears very little similarity to Magic. For whom is James facilitating? He’s averaging 30 points over the last 15 games he’s played. That’s not a criticism. If James doesn’t score, who on that roster will? Johnson found open guys in space. James draws defense and dumps. Different games.

      Reply
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  21. Samcro80

    1998 Finals Game 5 vs. Utah: 9/26 FG’s,

    Or how about the 1996 Finals vs. Seattle Game 4: 6-19 FG’s.

    At least do some proper research before posting.
    Jordan also only averaged 11 assists once. He never got above six and 2 apg average. So LeBron have 10+ in 5 of 18 looks better for him.

    Reply

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