The debate about who is greater, Michael or LeBron is kinda pointless. The easiest way to settle any conversation that winds into that topic is just to simply say, “Hey, they’re both great in their own way.” and then flip the conversation to some other topic. And that is a fair assessment. The entire structure of the debate relies on a never-ending stream of words almost always provided by subjective POV’s pertaining to each individual mega-star. All the old school cigar chewing no-crap takers will grumble a simple, “MJ.” – whereas the younger scene and hipster type cats will come up with streams of data, charts, analysis they don’t understand but love the way it looks, and they’ll passionately yell “LeBron!” from the rooftop of whatever cocktail party they’re at. Both LeBron James and Michael Jordan are elite, top shelf, best of the best, other-worldy talents.

The game has changed dramatically since Jordan’s dominance. LeBron has proven he’s as versatile and durable as any athlete to ever walk the face of the earth. When he finally hangs up (those hideous) sneakers he’ll mostly likely own every record he can grab, or be in the top 5% of a mind-boggling swath of statistical categories. And there is a problem with that, which is only a problem because the BronHeads made it a problem: simply put, LeBron was always going to be one of those guys that transcends the game and delivers spectacular numbers over a long career. Great, we’ve got that out of the way. But… All this fuss would be an additional cherry on top of an already delicious chocolate sundae if LeBron did what is expected of the truly great, which is to win championships. He’s got three – and that’s amazing. Don’t get me wrong. Not very many athletes get to tout three NBA Championship trophies alongside three Finals MVP’s. Excellent work, a job well done.

But again…

His numbers are monstrous, though I must stand beholden to the stickiest number of them all – his losing record in championship appearances. Ouch. And yeah, I mean that. I can’t find any significant argument for upending Jordan’s claim on the title of GOAT if you’ve lost as many Finals as he played in. Every possible statistic in the world (which again I reiterate he will probably come to claim) can not wash the taste of THAT from my mouth. In a vacuum, then yeah sure, LeBron is probably the Best Basketball Player to ever play the game – however, that is super boring, and like I sad, only an argument for those who say LeBron is the GOAT. It’s unfounded and simplified to a dumb flavor by numbers. Jordan only needs one number – 6 – and still if you really want to go there Michael Jordan has several other statistical accomplishments as well. So, for numbers sake, leave them out of a talk such as Who is the GOAT.

Michael Jordan changed the way the entire planet views sports. He was a celebrity in ways that still linger. Kids still line up get his shoes, even if they’ve never seen him play or don’t even really know what he ever did. He has the most iconic jumpshot of all-time, and on his way to becoming the (GOAT( he dethroned and eliminated something like 30 of the Top 50 players of all-time. Kids in China still run around at the park throwing up errant jump shots and yelling “Chow-Dan (Jordan).” That’s a changing power like none other. He brought the game global. FOR GOD’S SAKE, LEBRON ENTERED THE NBA WEARING THE MAN’S JERSEY NUMBER!

I can live with eternal debate. It’s not that much different from a bar talk with a stranger about their belief in God. A good debate is always fun. Having said that, there are some things that should be left alone. LeBron shouldn’t worry about being the GOAT. Clean up at home and get ready for the Golden State Warriors, that’s my only advice. Legacy is defined by others, but you control your own destiny.

Anthony Statham

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