Michael Jordan, 6 time World Champion. Lebron James, 3 time MVP. Players like these are
in a class of their own. Or are they? Is Lebron James in the same class with
Michael Jordan? Is Lebron James as good as Michael Jordan? These are all
reasonable questions that I want to answer. Today I will compare Jordan and
James by separate categories. The categories are: Scoring, Defense, Passing,
Rebounding, and the Finale. I will compare the players and decide which one I
believe is greater. Then I will decide if Lebron is even in the same class with
Jordan. Feel free to comment by email, in a proper manner. Dont forget to follow me on twitter at @CJ_H_12.
Scoring: This one easily goes to Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan in his first 9 seasons
averaged above 30 PPG 7 times! Lebron has done it twice. Jordan had also won 7
scoring titles while Lebron has done it once. Jordan's career average is also 3
points higher than Lebron's: James: 27.6. Jordan's: 30.1. If you only count
Jordan's first 9 seasons then this is the result: James: 27.6 Jordan's: 31.5.
Lebron is a great scorer though. Lebron has averaged at least 27 PPG 7 times
out of his 9 seasons. Jordan however wins this round.
Defense: This one goes to Jordan too. Michael Jordan is considered the greatest
defensive shooting guard of all time. I can name 5 better defenders at the
SG/SF position: Michael Cooper, Sidney Moncrief, Bruce Bowen, Metta World
Peace, and Scottie Pippen. I would choose Jordan over Cooper Moncrief and Bowen
and Metta are debatable. Lebron James has been selected to the NBA all
Defensive First Team 4 times. Jordan in his first 9 seasons was selected to 4
NBA All Defensive First Teams and won a Defensive Player of the Year award. By
the end of Jordan's career he got nine selections to the first team which is a
record (Gary Payton, Kobe, and Garnett are tied with Jordan too). Jordan by his
ninth season had also lead the league in steals twice. Lebron has yet to lead
the league in anything other than PPG once and MPG once. Jordan wins this
Passing: Most people would immediately go with Lebron for this one. That's not the
totally fair however. I'll admit that Jordan was a poor teammate and a ball hog
in his first couple of years. However, the 1990 season was the changing point
in Jordan's career. The reason his teams were losing was because he didn't
trust his teammates. He was always taking the shots. In 1991 though he started
trusting his teammates and look what happened - He won two three peats. Jordan
was also a very good passer. I recommend looking up Jordan highlights of him
passing the ball. Now let's face facts though, Lebron is a better passer and
teammate. I have not heard one complaint from Lebron's teammates. Jordan on the
other hand punched Steve Kerr, ran Doug Collins out of Chicago, knocked Will
Perdue, and continuously yelled at Bill Cartwright during games. Lebron has
also averaged more assists per game. He even averaged more with the Cavs which
were worst teams than Jordan's teams in my opinion. Here are their career APG:
Jordan: 5.3 Lebron: 6.9. This category has to go to Lebron.
Rebounding: This one we can go by the statistics. Since we are doing this, I will compare
their RPG of their first nine seasons. Season 1: Lebron: 5.5 Jordan: 6.5 Season 2: Lebron: 7.4 Jordan: 3.6 Season 3: Lebron: 7.0 Jordan: 5.2 Season 4: Lebron: 6.7 Jordan: 5.5 Season 5: Lebron: 7.9 Jordan: 8.0 Season 6: Lebron: 7.6 Jordan: 6.9 Season 7: Lebron: 7.3 Jordan: 6.0 Season 8: Lebron: 7.5 Jordan: 6.4 Season 9: Lebron: 7.9 Jordan: 6.7 Career: Lebron: 7.2 Jordan: 6.2. As you can see Lebron clearly outrebounds Jordan in
their first 9 seasons. Jordan however is actually a good rebounder for the
shooting guard position. Here are some legends RPG: Kobe: 5.3 West: 5.8 Gervin: 5.8 Iverson: 3.3 Drexler: 6.1 Dwyane Wade: 5.1 Maravich: 4.2 Ray: 4.2 Reggie: 3.0. As you can see only Drexler compares to Jordan when it comes to rebounding. Either way you can't go wrong with either of them. Lebron clearly outrebounds Jordan however.
Finale: For the Finale I will be doing 3 things: MPG/Games per season, shooting
efficiency, and of course the clutch factor. The first mini category is the
MPG/GPS. James has averaged more MPG for his career than Jordan. Here is their
career MPG: Lebron: 39.9 Jordan: 38.3. The next part of the MPG/GPS is games
per season. This pretty much means durability. We will take away Lebron's ninth
season away because of the lockout. When we do this Jordan played more games
than Lebron 7 times compared to once for Lebron because Michael broke his foot.
If you take away Jordan's broken foot season Jordan plays 23 more games than
Lebron which means he plays more minutes for his team than Lebron. So the
MPG/GPS advantage goes to Jordan. Jordan now leads 3-2. Next is shooting
efficiency. Jordan clearly shoots better from the field. Jordan had a better
FG% 7 times compared to Lebron's 2 when comparing their first nine seasons.
There is also free throw percentage when it comes to shooting efficiency.
Jordan clearly again beats out Lebron. Here are their career free throw
percentages: Lebron: 74.6% Jordan: 83.5%. Last is 3 point percentage. Lebron
actually beats Jordan in 3 point percentage. Jordan's career 3 point percentage
is 32.7%. Lebron's is 33.1%. This will totally win you over when I show you
this fact though: Jordan's 3 point percentage average for first nine seasons: 24.8%.
Here is Lebron's: 33.1%. Lebron didn't even go to college too! That means
Lebron is now perfecting his shot! I can only expect Lebron's 3 point
percentage to go up. Jordan became a good 3 point shooter in 1990 when he
averaged 37.6%. Jordan gets the advantage though because he shoots better from
the field, shoots better from the free throw line, and is good three point
shooter. The score is now 4-2. Lastly, is the clutch factor. In my opinion this
is the easiest one to answer. No one and I mean NO ONE has come close to what
Jordan did from 1984-1998. Lebron had an amazing playoff run don't get me
wrong, but Jordan did that from 1991-1998 (excusing the two year abstinence).
Although Jordan wins this round, who knows Lebron might do that for the next 10
years. But until that Jordan wins this category. Jordan wins 5-2. Although I do
believe Jordan is better than Lebron, I still have to answer if I think Lebron
is in the same class with Jordan. My answer is YES. Lebron is already at 27
years old in the elite category for scoring and defense. He's averaging about
the same amount of PPG as Kareem Abdul Jabbar (taking away Kareem's last 3 seasons).
Lebron is also averaging more PPG than Karl Malone did for his career! If that
didn't convince you then I hope this will: If Lebron keeps up his average of
27.6 PPG for the next 3 years he will be at number 13 of all time points
scored! All of this at the age of 30! Consider this too: If Lebron keeps up the
27.6 PPG for the next 6 years, he will have scored more points than Kareem
Abdul Jabbar. Yes, he would be number one - Higher than Jordan. Lebron is also
a 3 year member of the All NBA Defensive First Team in a row. I'm not expecting
Lebron to give that up soon. Right now Jordan is the better player and scorer.
If Jordan had played as many seasons as Kareem he would be the number one
leader. Remember too, PPG is more important than total points for this reason:
Somebody could score 20,000 points but play 2000 games and only average 10 PPG.
That's below average. So for Lebron to be considered a better scorer he has to
pick up his PPG. Jordan is also a better defender than Lebron. In my opinion
Lebron is not as good as Jordan but is in the same class with him. Thank you
for reading and feel free to comment.
Winner: Michael Air Jordan