Here I go again...LBJ vs Jordan GOAT?

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Ohioplayer00

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I was listening to Greeney on ESPN RADIO earlier this morning and his question of the day was “If LBJ wins two more titles to get to six does that make him the GOAT over Jordan?”
First off IMHO if championships are the measuring stick then Bill Russell is the GOAT because the man won 11 out of 13 titles and I believe 8 in a row! Secondly as far as LBJ vs MJ....I always go with Mike because of the one thing he had over LBJ. THAT KILLER INSTINCT! On more than one occasion I have heard LBJ say “I went into chill mode during that third quarter”. Anybody who saw Jordan play knows the Man didn’t have a “chill mode”! He came at you all game long 120%! And my last point in MJ vs Russell vs LBJ is this.....MJ won all six of his titles with one team as did Russell with the Celtics! That means MJ and Bill had stay and play through slumps, rebuilds and additions/substractions to win their titles.
LBJ on the hand, had to team hop to three different teams to win four titles to teams that either had the pieces in place or had to add another superstar. So as much as I like LBJ..MJ to me is the GOAT! And again if titles is only measuring stick then it’s Bill.
 

Ohioplayer00

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LeBron is clearly the GOAT when factoring in teammates, competition, peak performance, sustained performance, playoff performance, portability, versatility, durability, and off court excellence.
You don’t think Jordan had all of that? Just asking.
 

Lee

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You don’t think Jordan had all of that? Just asking.

No, off court complete asshole and selfish...remember that

But your point about one team is silly. Jordan had the GOAT coach and a much, much better team, he didn't have to change teams.

And oh yeah, JORDAN PLAYED 2 YEARS FOR WASHINGTON, HE DID CHANGE TEAMS.....he just didn't win. Sure he was old, but don't change the narrative to fit your pre-concieved notion Jordan is the goat.

Bill Russell only faced 8 teams in the league his first year, 14 teams his last, Lebron has made 10 finals, 8 in a row against 16 teams, so Russell really doesn't count.

Jordan failed in the playoffs allot more than Lebron including 1st round exits, Lebron had zero.

Lebron will end his career with most points ever, 2nd or 3rd most assists, top 30 in rebounds, maybe number one in 3 pointers made, top 5 in steals. So stats will heavily favor Lebron.

Pippen is the best wing defender ever, 2nd best non PG ball handler ever, Rodman GOAT rebounder, its not even close when you like at the stat % of available rebounds, so teammates heavily favor Jordan.

Jordan was favored to win all of his titles, Lebron wasn't even favored to make the finals in a few of his final appearances. Won a title as the underdog.
 

PIP

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Jordan prevented the following from winning a title or additional titles.

Finals
Magic Johnson’s 6th
Clyde Drexler (got his when Jordan was playing baseball)
Charles Barkley
Shawn Kemp
Gary Payton (got his when Jordan was retired)
Karl Malone
John Stockton

In the East

Pistons 3peating
Patrick Ewing
Reggie Miller
Shaquille O’Neal
Anfernee Hardaway
Alonzo Mourning
Tim Hardaway
Our Cavs (Price/Daugherty)

LeBron

Finals
Duncan got title #4 and 6
Kawhi got 1
Dirk got 1
Kidd got 1
Curry got 3
KD got 2

In the East.
Garnett got 1
Pierce got 1
Allen got 1

Admittedly this is unfair. However I hate the 6 for 6 argument with Jordan. My argument for Jordan is just how many hall of famers he was able to alter the careers of. Even Olajuwon to a degree because (like Drexler) he got his titles when Jordan was playing baseball.

If you give Barkley, Malone, Stockton, Miller, Ewing just 1 ring— it completely changes the narratives of their careers.

Just like Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Dirk, Kidd, and KD who went through LeBron and had their narratives change....
 

Lee

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Jordan prevented the following from winning a title or additional titles.

Finals
Magic Johnson’s 6th
Clyde Drexler (got his when Jordan was playing baseball)
Charles Barkley
Shawn Kemp
Gary Payton (got his when Jordan was retired)
Karl Malone
John Stockton

In the East

Pistons 3peating
Patrick Ewing
Reggie Miller
Shaquille O’Neal
Anfernee Hardaway
Alonzo Mourning
Tim Hardaway
Our Cavs (Price/Daugherty)

LeBron

Finals
Duncan got title #4 and 6
Kawhi got 1
Dirk got 1
Kidd got 1
Curry got 3
KD got 2

In the East.
Garnett got 1
Pierce got 1
Allen got 1

Admittedly this is unfair. However I hate the 6 for 6 argument with Jordan. My argument for Jordan is just how many hall of famers he was able to alter the careers of. Even Olajuwon to a degree because (like Drexler) he got his titles when Jordan was playing baseball.

If you give Barkley, Malone, Stockton, Miller, Ewing just 1 ring— it completely changes the narratives of their careers.

Just like Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Dirk, Kidd, and KD who went through LeBron and had their narratives change....

But basketball is a team sport, it was those teams that Jordan was on that won. Before Phil Jackson, Jordan scored 37 points a game one year and didnt do shit, beat in the first round. Before Pippen, jordan didnt do shit. After those 2 in Washington, Jordan was old, but didnt do shit, didnt really elevate the Wizzards much they had losing records WITH Jordan both years. (Lebron will be the same age as Jordan was on the Wizzards when his contract ends btw)

How about the team without Jordan, we have that because he did leave for 1 year. Well the Bulls won 54 games and took the Knicks to 7 games in the semi finals WITHOUT JORDAN, so they were a very good team without Jordan, when he came back, it was almost like Durant going to the Warriors, almost.

Every time Lebron left, the team had to rebuild and they werent even playoff worthy. Do you think the Caves with Love and Kyrie but no Lebron even make the playoffs in 2017? Maybe not, but they would not have won 54 games, even in the East.

Lebron elevates his team more than any other player, and its not even close and to me that defines greatness and the GOAT

Oh and Jordan missed 1.5 years, he returned to play in the middle of the year and the Bulls made the playoffs the year Clyde and Hakeem won their title. Jordan was playing and in the league and didnt prevent shit as that Houston team won the title WITH JORDAN IN THE LEAGUE.

There is so much rewriting history, Jordan didnt miss 2 years, only 1 full year, begining of 2nd, and Jordan did play for 2 teams. Make excuses not in his prime, not in shape, doesnt change the facts, Jordan played for 2 teams...fact....Jordan was playing basketball the year Clyde won his title and Hakeem won title 2. Sure he played only 17 regular season games, but he averaged 27 points, and the idea was he was coming back and would win that year, but he didnt so everyone made excuses for Jordan just like the make excuses for him being an all time great asshole.

What was missing 94-95 Bulls? It wasnt jordan, pippen or kukoch or kerr....it was Rodman, all time greatest rebounder and a top defender to go with Pippen as a top defender. But lets change the rules and history on how Jordan missed 2 full year or only ever played for 1 team.
 
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PIP

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But basketball is a team sport, it was those teams that Jordan was on that won. Before Phil Jackson, Jordan scored 37 points a game one year and didnt do shit, beat in the first round. Before Pippen, jordan didnt do shit. After those 2 in Washington, Jordan was old, but didnt do shit, didnt really elevate the Wizzards much they had losing records WITH Jordan both years. (Lebron will be the same age as Jordan was on the Wizzards when his contract ends btw)

How about the team without Jordan, we have that because he did leave for 1 year. Well the Bulls won 54 games and took the Knicks to 7 games in the semi finals WITHOUT JORDAN, so they were a very good team without Jordan, when he came back, it was almost like Durant going to the Warriors, almost.

Every time Lebron left, the team had to rebuild and they werent even playoff worthy. Do you think the Caves with Love and Kyrie but no Lebron even make the playoffs in 2017? Maybe not, but they would not have won 54 games, even in the East.

Lebron elevates his team more than any other player, and its not even close and to me that defines greatness and the GOAT

Oh and Jordan missed 1.5 years, he returned to play in the middle of the year and the Bulls made the playoffs the year Clyde and Hakeem won their title. Jordan was playing and in the league and didnt prevent shit as that Houston team won the title WITH JORDAN IN THE LEAGUE.

There is so much rewriting history, Jordan didnt miss 2 years, only 1 full year, begining of 2nd, and Jordan did play for 2 teams. Make excuses not in his prime, not in shape, doesnt change the facts, Jordan played for 2 teams...fact....Jordan was playing basketball the year Clyde won his title and Hakeem won title 2. Sure he played only 17 regular season games, but he averaged 27 points, and the idea was he was coming back and would win that year, but he didnt so everyone made excuses for Jordan just like the make excuses for him being an all time great asshole.

What was missing 94-95 Bulls? It wasnt jordan, pippen or kukoch or kerr....it was Rodman, all time greatest rebounder and a top defender to go with Pippen as a top defender. But lets change the rules and history on how Jordan missed 2 full year or only ever played for 1 team.
I get what you’re saying, Lee. It’s not the fairest of arguments as I said. It’s all personal opinion.

Do I think the 93-94 Bulls win the title with Jordan there start to finish ? Most likely.

Do I think the 94-95 Bulls win the title with Jordan there from start to finish ? Most likely.

The eras are different. The competition is different. The interest from the players is different.

To me Jordan altered more careers, legacies, franchises than any other player.

I agree it does have to do more so with teams than individuals. But it’s Jordan vs LeBron.
 

Goldin Brown

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The eras are different. The competition is different. The interest from the players is different.

To me Jordan altered more careers, legacies, franchises than any other player.

I agree it does have to do more so with teams than individuals. But it’s Jordan vs LeBron.
Jordan altered the entire trajectory of the league and the game of basketball imo. He made the NBA immensely more interesting and entertaining and he helped create a world wide interest in NBA basketball, which didn't exist before he was there. He also created the player as a brand thing. I could go on. I can't even imagine what the league would look like if he never existed.

I don't think you can say the same about Lebron, his biggest influence on the league has probably been the player empowerment movement. Which you could say has made the league significantly less interesting.
 

Ohioplayer00

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No, off court complete asshole and selfish...remember that

But your point about one team is silly. Jordan had the GOAT coach and a much, much better team, he didn't have to change teams.

And oh yeah, JORDAN PLAYED 2 YEARS FOR WASHINGTON, HE DID CHANGE TEAMS.....he just didn't win. Sure he was old, but don't change the narrative to fit your pre-concieved notion Jordan is the goat.

Bill Russell only faced 8 teams in the league his first year, 14 teams his last, Lebron has made 10 finals, 8 in a row against 16 teams, so Russell really doesn't count.

Jordan failed in the playoffs allot more than Lebron including 1st round exits, Lebron had zero.

Lebron will end his career with most points ever, 2nd or 3rd most assists, top 30 in rebounds, maybe number one in 3 pointers made, top 5 in steals. So stats will heavily favor Lebron.

Pippen is the best wing defender ever, 2nd best non PG ball handler ever, Rodman GOAT rebounder, its not even close when you like at the stat % of available rebounds, so teammates heavily favor Jordan.

Jordan was favored to win all of his titles, Lebron wasn't even favored to make the finals in a few of his final appearances. Won a title as the underdog.
Points all well taken but Jordan didn’t jump teams to win titles.....LBJ did! I don’t care how many teams Russell play against he still has 11 titles and LBJ played in a weak EC to get to his three Finals appearances. And as I pointed out if you’re looking at stats then he will be the GOAT but again the question on ESPN this was if he won 6 titles would he be the best ever! And again I say if titles are the measuring stick then Russell is the GOAT!
 

foucault87

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Let me preface this whole thing by saying that I think this is a pretty dumb debate. There will never be one best ever because there are too many positional factors over time. Does Bill Russell win any rings in the modern NBA when he wasnt a scoring threat and built like Thad Young? If LeBron played in the 60s, how long til they banned running and jumping? Would Bill Sharman have survived an era where he couldn't punch the hot rookie who just hit 8 jumpers in your face? There is no way to know.

If LeBron isn't the GOAT now, he will be when he retires. You can argue forever that Jordan at his apex was better, and that might be true. There are probably other players who had a higher apex then Bron (Hakeem, Shaq, Bird, Wilt). But Bron has been an MVP caliber player every damn year between 2006 and 2020. 14 years as a top 3 player. Most of those as the best player in the NBA. The only player that had as long of a peak was Kareem but I am not sure his reign as the undisputed best player in the league was closing in on 15 years. I honestly expect LeBron to be on the All-NBA 1st team when he is 40. He is that durable and plays at that high a level. When you put up a 25-8-8 and that is a bad game, that says something about the average level of performance we expect from you...at 35.

I always laugh when I see the pundits talk about how Giannis or AD would be the next player to overtake LeBron as the best player in the league. The man played through the careers of multiple Hall of Famers at their peak and after it and he was better than all of them.

Beyond that, I think the fact that basketball is a team dependent sport makes it way harder to argue who the GOAT is. Your teammates matter. As was said above, Jordan had Pippen (a low level MVP candidate for a decade), Rodman (GOAT boardman and elite partier/defender), and even players like Horace Grant. How many guys has LeBron played with on the level of even Rodman? I count 2020 AD and 2011 Wade and that's it.

Lastly on the titles vs Finals appearance thing, I think it is incredible that LeBron managed to gatekeep an entire conference for a decade. Not a single team from the East made it to the finals til Toronto the year he left. He stopped several legitimate title teams from making any real leap (Indy, Chicago, Boston, LeBronto). And he did dragging some good and some sorry ass rosters deep into the playoffs. I honestly think the carry job he pulled in the 2018 Finals should have cemented LeBron as the ultimate floor raiser in NBA history. You put 2005-2020 LeBron on any team and you are a playoff team. You add even 2 starter level players, and you are a borderline contender. You add an All-Star or two and the only thing that beats you is the greatest team ever assembled.

This post is getting more rambling as I write it, but the TL;DR is:

  • Rings are overrated. Too much luck involved. Sustained playoff success matters more
  • Longevity matters more than peak or Bill Walton is the GOAT
  • Lebron > Jordan > Kareem > Russell > Magic is my top 5
 

The Human Q-Tip

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How about the team without Jordan, we have that because he did leave for 1 year. Well the Bulls won 54 games and took the Knicks to 7 games in the semi finals WITHOUT JORDAN, so they were a very good team without Jordan, when he came back, it was almost like Durant going to the Warriors, almost.

I think that is the most overlooked stat in the Jordan v LBJ GOAT debate. When you look at how good each team was without those guys...it ain't remotely close. The Cavs without LBJ were absolutely terrible, even within those seasons.
 
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Ohioplayer00

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I think that is the most overlooked stat in the Jordan v LBJ GOAT debate. When you look at how good each team was without those guys...it ain't remotely close. The Cavs without LBJ were absolutely terrible, even within those seasons.
That speaks more to the competency of the front office than it does the player who left.
 
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Let me preface this whole thing by saying that I think this is a pretty dumb debate. There will never be one best ever because there are too many positional factors over time. Does Bill Russell win any rings in the modern NBA when he wasnt a scoring threat and built like Thad Young? If LeBron played in the 60s, how long til they banned running and jumping? Would Bill Sharman have survived an era where he couldn't punch the hot rookie who just hit 8 jumpers in your face? There is no way to know.

If LeBron isn't the GOAT now, he will be when he retires. You can argue forever that Jordan at his apex was better, and that might be true. There are probably other players who had a higher apex then Bron (Hakeem, Shaq, Bird, Wilt). But Bron has been an MVP caliber player every damn year between 2006 and 2020. 14 years as a top 3 player. Most of those as the best player in the NBA. The only player that had as long of a peak was Kareem but I am not sure his reign as the undisputed best player in the league was closing in on 15 years. I honestly expect LeBron to be on the All-NBA 1st team when he is 40. He is that durable and plays at that high a level. When you put up a 25-8-8 and that is a bad game, that says something about the average level of performance we expect from you...at 35.

I always laugh when I see the pundits talk about how Giannis or AD would be the next player to overtake LeBron as the best player in the league. The man played through the careers of multiple Hall of Famers at their peak and after it and he was better than all of them.

Beyond that, I think the fact that basketball is a team dependent sport makes it way harder to argue who the GOAT is. Your teammates matter. As was said above, Jordan had Pippen (a low level MVP candidate for a decade), Rodman (GOAT boardman and elite partier/defender), and even players like Horace Grant. How many guys has LeBron played with on the level of even Rodman? I count 2020 AD and 2011 Wade and that's it.

Lastly on the titles vs Finals appearance thing, I think it is incredible that LeBron managed to gatekeep an entire conference for a decade. Not a single team from the East made it to the finals til Toronto the year he left. He stopped several legitimate title teams from making any real leap (Indy, Chicago, Boston, LeBronto). And he did dragging some good and some sorry ass rosters deep into the playoffs. I honestly think the carry job he pulled in the 2018 Finals should have cemented LeBron as the ultimate floor raiser in NBA history. You put 2005-2020 LeBron on any team and you are a playoff team. You add even 2 starter level players, and you are a borderline contender. You add an All-Star or two and the only thing that beats you is the greatest team ever assembled.

This post is getting more rambling as I write it, but the TL;DR is:

  • Rings are overrated. Too much luck involved. Sustained playoff success matters more
  • Longevity matters more than peak or Bill Walton is the GOAT
  • Lebron > Jordan > Kareem > Russell > Magic is my top 5
Really good post and I agree with your top 5 in that order. I thought Bill Walton was incredibly dominant for the year + he was healthy but both LeBron and Jordan had multiple years more dominant than his. Curious to hear your case for Walton having the highest peak.
 

foucault87

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Really good post and I agree with your top 5 in that order. I thought Bill Walton was incredibly dominant for the year + he was healthy but both LeBron and Jordan had multiple years more dominant than his. Curious to hear your case for Walton having the highest peak.

Admittedly, I was being pretty hyperbolic by claiming Walton had the highest peak. Realistically, Bron, MJ, Kareem and several others had higher peaks. You can make good cases for a few other bigs including Shaq and Hakeem.

I do think his peak is somewhat underrated in that discussion though. He was the only real superstar on those Portland teams and they won a ton of games with him at helm. His best teammate was Mo Lucas during that stretch. Mo is probably comprable to Kevin Love in prestige even if their games aren't similar at all. I think the most telling stat though is that they went 50-10 in 1978, the year after the title, before Walton went down. They went 8-14 down the stretch but still had the best record in the NBA. Admittedly the late 70s were a lean period in talent for the NBA but that is still pretty impressive.
 
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