PFB - Hot Take of the Day: Why LeBron > MJ

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Feb 17, 2018
Listen, I don’t wanna stir up my base of supporters, but now is the time we must all unite. We must stand for what is right. We must fight, fight, fight. (OK, sorry. No more rhymes. It should be considered a crime.)

Anyway. We must have principles, else we have nothing. That’s why I feel compelled to share my hottest take this week about where I side on the LeBron vs. MJ debate.

It’s LeBron over MJ all day. Here’s why:

1. Longevity

Even Michael Jordan’s long career is starting to pale in comparison to the True King’s. MJ played 15 total seasons — 13 with Chicago, two in Washington. LeBron, meanwhile, played 11 in Cleveland, four in Miami, and two (and counting) in L.A. Of those seasons, LBJ’s been an All-Star 16 times, an MVP four times, a champion thrice.

The haters will say the end is near for LBJ, and thus the perceived longevity gap won’t be as wide … but he’s averaging a career-high in assists per game and 25.7 points for a team that, pre-Corona, was the favorite to win the NBA title. MJ’s stats at age 35, by the way? Here’s how they look in the Basketball Reference database. My King would never.

2. Overall impact

When it comes to raw stats, MJ, I must admit, does have at least a puncher’s chance to come out on top of this argument. For his career, he averaged 30.1 points (!), 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 32.7% from 3 and 49.7% from the floor. LeBron has averaged 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists while shooting 34.4% from 3 and 50.4% from the floor.

The full scope is where LeBron pulls ahead. He’s by far a better passer — comparable (at least in the same conversation) as Magic. And as a rebounder, big-bodied bully, and shooter from deep, James has the edge, too. So sure — MJ’s got some incredible scoring numbers. But LeBron’s impact on every facet of the game on both ends gives him an edge.

3. Cultural impact

This is no fault of MJ’s, but he was the star of a league at a time when it wasn’t entirely optimal to be a star of the league. There was no Snapchat, no House of Highlights. No Twitter. No Facebook. MJ was a traditional, old school star in an old school league that, like other sports in his era, weren’t easily accessible.

LeBron, by comparison, has been a force unto his own. He’s got 45M Twitter followers, 62M on Instagram. But more than that, he’s been a cultural symbol, constantly breaking norms by going against the grain: by leaving Cleveland and villainizing himself by signing with Miami and forming a Big 3. By announcing that decision with an infamous “Decision” that aired on TV. By using his status to control coaching decisions, roster moves, administrative hiring and firing. He’s been a powerful figure in sports for two decades — and he’s wielded it with force. People from all walks of lifes and all demographics will forever remember the NBA era in which LeBron James shaped, shifted and transformed the league into the cultural phenomenon it is today.

4. LeBron’s teams < MJ

And this point is no fault of LeBron’s, but let’s be real: MJ had Pippen and Rodman. LeBron’s had Kyrie (briefly), D-Wade and Bosh (briefly), and … Matthew Dellavedova? The supporting casts LBJ has had to drag through the playoffs year in and year out has been hysterical, and yet he does it, year in and year out. Meanwhile, MJ played with a pair of Hall of Famers in his own supporting cast, and Pippen was perhaps the greatest No. 2 on a dynasty … ever. LeBron’s always done more with less.

5. Unrelated

This is part of what spawned my thinking on the LeBron vs. MJ debate, and unrelated: I hope you all watch this. It’s coming out next month, and holy smokes it looks spectacular. 10-part series on MJ’s legacy called “The Last Dance.” My prediction: it will pale in documentaries only in comparison to LeBron’s future 11-part series, which will air in 2040 in SuperMaxHD.

The Last Dance. Let’s go.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2020

The post Hot Take of the Day: Why LeBron > MJ appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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