Whenever anyone finds out that I'm a fan of the back-to-back NBA champions, the Miami Heat, eventually the discussion finds a way to asking my opinion as to who's better: LeBron James or Michael Jordan?
First off, I want to start by saying that I think it's premature to start comparing LeBron to Jordan or anyone else who has finished their basketball career.
One of the main arguments that the pro-Jordan people have is how he has six championship rings compared to LeBron's one. Excuse me, that would be two rings. Let's not forget the one he just won with his tremendous Game 7 play where he scored an amazing 37 points and brought down 12 rebounds. While he has done a lot, let us not forget that LeBron probably still has another six to seven years ahead of him.
What those people are forgetting is that Jordan played professional basketball for 13 years with the Chicago Bulls. His first championship came in 1991, seven years after being drafted by the Bulls. Even though LeBron had been in the league for nine years before winning his first ring, the first few were basically spent learning how to play at the professional level. Unlike Jordan, who learned what it took to play at a higher level at UNC and entered the NBA with experience under his belt, LeBron started with the Cavaliers right out of high school. Meaning that he had to find his game under fire.
Let's compare the two players at the age of 28, which is how old LeBron is now. LeBron has scored more than 2,400 more points (19,045 to Jordan's 16,596), has more than 1,700 more rebounds (4,943 to 3,180) and assists (4,751 to 3,081), almost 150 more double-doubles (268-121) and two times as many triple-triples (41-19). He also has more MVP awards, all-star appearances and all-star MVPs.
While on paper it appears that LeBron has done more. It's really difficult to compare stats since defenses are better than they were before and the average current players are better than the average players when Jordan was playing.
As to who is better and the greatest, I feel that LeBron James is the best player currently in the professional ranks. I will also go as far as to say that I feel that Lebron can be one of the best players ever to step on the court. And yes, even better than Jordan. Of course he will have to prove himself worthy of the claim. But if the past five years are any indication of his ability and the future, I'm sure that even the doubters and haters will have to reconsider.
Manny Fils is a sports writer for The Citizen. Fils can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.