The debate will never stop. So who is the greatest of all time? Is it Michael Jordan who was 6-0 in the NBA Finals and never went to game seven? Or is LeBron James, who is 4-10 in NBA Finals and has choked on more big shots than a high school senior at their first party, trying to get down their first shot of tequila?
Every year around playoff time, this debate seems to rear its head once again.
First, we need to redefine what the term GOAT means. It isn’t very easy. It can’t be defined in just a few short words.
It is more than the stats. It’s how you carry yourself on and off the court. It’s the ability to carry your team to a championship because you are the GOAT.
It is the ability to make your team and those around you better because you are the GOAT.
It’s winning with class and losing with dignity. In the last two games in the Phoenix series, LeBron left the bench early and in-game six, when the series ended, was nowhere to be found to congratulate the up-and-coming Suns on their victory.
Jordan would have never displayed such poor sportsmanship for the whole world to see. And yet the media is in such a love affair with LeBron, and nobody called him out.
That is one of the great traditions in the NHL playoffs. At the end of a long, hard-fought series, both teams meet at center ice and congratulate one another on a great series.
Not LeBron. He has no time for that. When his team is getting their ass kicked, he’s out of there.
I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. I grew up about five miles from St. Vincent St. Mary high school, where LeBron played high school basketball.
It was all LeBron all the time during High School basketball season in Ohio.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in 2003 with the first pick in the NBA draft, the swooning continued.
I’ve seen LeBron play in person more times than I can count. I’ve seen him many times in high school games and seen him play in the NBA.
Lebron may be the best player in NBA history, but not the greatest. There is a difference.
Jordan won his championships with the talent that GM Jerry Krause assembled. Scottie Pippen was the only true superstar that he played with.
Jordan was able to win championships with the talent assembled on his team.
LeBron has not been able to do that. So instead, he has demanded that his team go out and acquire players that he is personal friends with to try to win a championship.
This started in Cleveland as he demanded the organization acquire JR Smith, Kyle Korver, and Iman Shumpert. LeBron also was instrumental in getting Cleveland to sign Tristan Thompson to a better deal than Thompson deserved.
In Miami, LeBron coerced the Heat into signing Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to win a championship.
In Los Angeles, LeBron recruited Anthony Davis to join him and successfully brought a championship to LA.
When you have to assemble a team and pick your team like you are choosing a sandlot team on the playground, how can anyone call you the greatest of all time with a straight face?
Jordan led his team with the talent that he had on the team.
As the GOAT, Jordan never quit or checked out on his team during a playoff series, as we have seen LeBron do at times in his career.
Look up the definition of mental toughness in the dictionary. It defines Michael Jordan, not LeBron James.
Jordan always took the leadership piece and the responsibility for his teams’ failures personally. He was also the first one to share the credit when things went well. But, he never made himself the story like LeBron likes to do.
Jordan dominated the game and was the best player on the court most nights until later in his second career with the Wizards. LeBron has had his moments but has never been nor will he ever be the dominant player night in and night out that Jordan was.
Father Time is starting to catch up with LeBron. He missed 27 games this season, the most he has ever missed due to injuries. We will continue to see his skills start to diminish, just like we did with Michael Jordan late in his career.
LeBron may play for a few more years, but we can put this argument to rest.
Let the record state that LeBron James will go down as one of the top ten players in NBA history.
But the title of the GOAT still belongs to the greatest player of all time.