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baradar_jackson

The stupid but unavoidable question: MJ or Lebron?

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Salaam basketball fans

This was the worst and most boring playoffs in NBA history.

And there is no guarantee that this finals will even be entertaining, even with the teams being very evenly matched. (Think back to last year: a seven game series with 6 blowouts).

So instead of wasting our time watching garbage basketball, let's ask pointless questions.

Lebron or MJ?

Firstly, full disclosure: I grew up hating MJ, and I have been Lebron's #1 hater since he came into the NBA. So I don't really have a horse in this race, in particular.

But let me tell you this: MJ's golden calf status among basketball fans is irritating beyond all reason. I absolutely hate it. I don't so much mind that so many people consider him the GOAT... my problem is when people think it shouldn't even be a debate. It is very hard to compare players across different eras (it is sometimes hard enough if they play in the same era)... and a lot of factors go into comparing players. But MJ is such an idol that any criticism against him is immediately silenced.

Spoiler alert: I would choose Lebron over MJ. First I want to go into why MJ is not the saint everyone remembers him as.

1) You know about the oft-repeated "Stat" of Jordan going 6-0 in the NBA finals?

Yeah... that wouldn't have happened if his team wasn't getting their behinds handed to them by the Celtics and Pistons in the first and second rounds of the playoffs every year. (including the notorious "Jordan rules" the Pistons developed for slowing down Jordan's game). And guess what else? The Bulls were seriously entertaining trade talks for MJ because he was perceived as a "me-first" player who refused to pass. (and that was 100 percent true... it was not until Phil Jackson came along that he actually deferred to teammates more). So let's cut the crap about MJ being unbeatable when it mattered. He had to take plenty of lumps before getting over the hump, just like Lebron. The difference is that people use it against Lebron and completely ignore it with MJ.

Also, notice the criticism on Jordan early in his career: he is not a team player and so on. With Lebron it was the exact opposite: everyone was saying he plays too unselfishly. And I recognize that can be a flaw, especially for an all-time great. But guess what? Unselfish play wins games. And Lebron has developed his playing style in a way that he can be effective well into his late 30s, if not 40s. Sure, he plays ugly as hell and it's hideous to watch but it's effective. He has no weaknesses in his game, and that's huge. Bringing us to our next point:

2) MJ could play one position. Lebron can play 5. MJ was a great defender but he wasn't guarding the Ewings and Olajuwons of the league. Lebron could. Basketball is one of those sports where positions only matter as much as you want them to matter. And Lebron James is the posterchild of the positionless NBA. He can play every position and guard every position. And what's hilarious is that some folks use his size against him! "Oh well of course Lebron got more rebounds than MJ... he's bigger and stronger." Yeah and if my aunt were a man she would be my uncle. Size and strength matters in basketball, since when is that new information?

3) Lebron can carry a team. MJ was the best player on his team by far... but did he "carry" them?

Look at how the Bulls did when Jordan took his little gambling break to go play minor league baseball. They won over 50 games and made the second round of the playoffs, losing in 7 games to a talented Knicks team. When Lebron left the Cavs they went from a perennial playoff team and title contender to a 19-win team. The Heat (which was supposedly a super team with him) didn't make the playoffs the year after Lebron left. Lebron clearly makes a tangible impact on the court in making his teams better. Jordan, while being the best player on his team and pushing them over the top, I don't think he carried them. I think they had decent talent and great coaching that made them a competitive team. Would they have won championships without MJ? Probably not. But we know for a fact that they were not dregs of the NBA without him. Unlike Lebron's teams.

4) I know this is not basketball-related, but... if you had the choice to be friends with Lebron or MJ, who would you choose? MJ, the notorious dbag and overall piece of trash... or Lebron, who in general has been an upstanding citizen?

We're talking about "the decision." And absolutely that was a big mistake by Lebron. But that was, in the end, a basketball decision. Michael Jordan may have been responsible for his father's death, because of his gambling debts. That's... a tad worse than "the decision," if you ask me.

Remember the so-called "flu" game? It was actually a hangover game, and then some Joo friend of Michael wanted to put out this fake story that Utah poisoned Michael. In reality he was out partying the very night before the game. lol.

I understand this is sport, and not every great athlete is going to be a great person but Jordan's level of dbaggery is astounding. He is the most petty man in the history of basketball, and what's worse is that his fanboys refuse to recognize it!!

Meanwhile, look at Lebron. He is very deferential to other teams (earlier this season he said it's disrespectful to talk about a rematch with the Warriors when 7 billion people knew exactly what was going to happen), his teammates like him (maybe because he actually elevates their games?), his family likes him. And this in spite of the fact that he grew up fatherless. Also, a lot of people don't realize this about Lebron, but: he's from the hood. When he first came out I was 100 percent sure he was from the burbs. but nope. In spite of his corporate friendly image and business savvy, he's a product of the inner city. And let's be honest: that's impressive.

So, to summarize. Lebron is;

- a more complete player

- had just as much postseason success as Michael up to this point in their respective careers

- has taken a team of Mo Williams' and Anderson Varejao's to the finals (no offense to them but they were role players, not #2 and #3 options)

- wasn't a giant piece of trash

- brought a championship to the biggest city of pathetic losers (Cleveland); I'm pretty sure UNESCO should award him something for that one

And so, that's why I choose Lebron over Jordan.

One last note about "the decision," I am not saying he was right to do what he did. But let's be real for a moment: the way that basketball players approach this is far different from us as fans. We think of teams as the embodiments of their respective cities. That hasn't been true in like 100 years. Lebron was one of those rare cases where a superstar player gets drafted by his hometown team... but that doesn't mean Lebron feels some kind of emotional connection with that team the same way some people do. Lebron was growing up in the 90s, which means there is a 120 percent chance he was a frontrunning nasty little Bulls/MJ fan. (God, I hated them so much...). He was on a team that refused to give him a second star. So it made sense that he wanted out.

It was very different from Kevin Durant. Durant was already on a contending team with a "second" star (who is better than Durant anyway, yeah I said it).

And guess what? He went back to Cleveland and got those losing losers a title. So that should be water under the bridge. (Although that Dallas-Miami finals remains one of the few moments where I actually enjoyed the result of a basketball season)

Anyway that's all. I think Lebron is better. What do YOU think?

*waits for angry mob of MJ fanboys with their inexhaustable list of nonsense excuses*

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I agree, LeBron is a better player, athlete, person, and professional overall. 

With time, (objective) MJ fandom has decreased and will continue to do so, as his records get broken. The fandom mainly exists as an extension of overall 90s nostalgia, which is still strong. 

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29 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

MJ, no doubt. LeBron James doesn't compare.

 

How so?

 

1 hour ago, Reza said:

I agree, LeBron is a better player, athlete, person, and professional overall. 

With time, (objective) MJ fandom has decreased and will continue to do so, as his records get broken. The fandom mainly exists as an extension of overall 90s nostalgia, which is still strong. 

 

This could very well be the case. 

 

No team had more bandwagon fans than the MJ bulls teams

 

Some even stopped watching basketball after he retired

Edited by baradar_jackson

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39 minutes ago, baradar_jackson said:

How so?

Well, put it this way. People shouldn't compare LBJ to MJ, he's made a name for himself as a basketball player and is his own man.

Although he may be a better player than MJ, without Michael Jordan, there's no LeBron James. Plain and simple, even LeBron knows that. That's why he wears number 23, he's paying homage to the man who inspired him to shoot hoops; The legend who came before him, Michael Jordan. 

But if you really want to have this debate about MJ vs. LBJ, take a look at this and tell me what you think: https://theringer.com/2017-nba-playoffs-lebron-james-vs-michael-jordan-cb62c5c876b5?gi=67968e62f896

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14 hours ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Well, put it this way. People shouldn't compare LBJ to MJ, he's made a name for himself as a basketball player and is his own man.

Although he may be a better player than MJ, without Michael Jordan, there's no LeBron James. Plain and simple, even LeBron knows that. That's why he wears number 23, he's paying homage to the man who inspired him to shoot hoops; The legend who came before him, Michael Jordan. 

But if you really want to have this debate about MJ vs. LBJ, take a look at this and tell me what you think: https://theringer.com/2017-nba-playoffs-lebron-james-vs-michael-jordan-cb62c5c876b5?gi=67968e62f896

 

Firstly bro, if we're going to use that as a barometer, then James Naismith is the GOAT because if he hadn't invented basketball none of them would be playing. I'm pretty sure you can see how that's faulty logic.

 

As for the article you've linked, I skimmed through it. What I don't like about it is that it brings up scoring averages. Firstly, when someone says Lebron is a better player than Jordan, they are not saying he's a better scorer. Jordan was the better pure scorer. I don't think anyone will ever dispute that. But... so is Carmelo Anthony.

 

Basketball is not just scoring. In fact, looking at Jordan's ppg averages. His highest averages came before he won a championship.

 

Isiah Thomas explains this really well:

 

 

 

He talks about why he would pick Lebron over MJ, saying that Lebron's basketball knowledge is unparallel, and especially remarkable considering he didn't go to college and never had a HOF coach (Jordan had, like, three HOF coaches lol). Although, Isiah thinks Kareem is the GOAT. Nonetheless, you gotta recognize these points. Lebron's basketball IQ is unparallel.

 

Again, it's not just about scoring. Look at Steph Curry. Statistically, the best shooter in history, and the fastest scorer in history. These are facts. But how many people would even consider him a top 25 all-time player?

 

Also, consider this: out of all the great basketballers, which one is so versatile that you could drop him in any era and he would succeed? Think about it a little bit. For most of basketball history, the sport was dominated by big men. But nowadays, if you build your team around a big man who can't stretch the floor, you're wasting your time (look at the Pistons with Drummond; Drummond, even with his soft attitude, would have set the league ablaze in the 90s). Or how about defence. Steph Curry and James Harden are considered MVP caliber players in today's league. But before zone defences were allowed (which wasn't even that long ago), how were you going to mask their awful defence?

 

Michael Jordan was a ball-dominant shooting guard. I don't think that would have gone over well in today's league. Hell, look at how much heat Kobe took for pretty much being the exact same player as Michael.

 

Lebron James is one of those few players who you could drop into the 50s, 60s, 80s, whatever... he will dominate every era because: 1) he's a 6'9" 260 lb freak athlete with a HOF coach's brain, and 2) his game has no weaknesses. When he first came into the league, the only thing haters like me had on him was that he wasn't a good shooter. But like all great players, he worked on it. And now, there is not a single person who will say he's a bad shooter. He's not a Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Steve Nash or whatever.... that's not the point. He excels at everything and struggles with nothing. You can't say how valuable that is on the court.

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I see what you mean but ultimately you didn't read the article, like you said, just skimmed through it. The fact is that Michael Jordan has more points per game, more steals per game,more experience and a stronger free throw percentage. Jordan was a pure shooter, no doubt and LeBron is far more versatile than Jordan, with a stronger rebound percentage, assist percentage and field goal percentage, he doesn't have the experience that Jordan has.

Jordan has more championship rings (6), was defensive player of the year (LeBron hasn't gotten that award yet), has more seasons and playoffs under his belt (15 seasons and 13 playoffs) and was the scoring leader in the NBA ten times, compare that to LeBron's 14 seasons and 12playoffs, three championship rings, no defensive player of the year award and a measly one time that he was the scoring leader of the NBA.

Do I believe that LeBron James will surpass Jordan? Yes, I do. Is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan, give him time and he will outshine is what I say. But right now, it is stupid to compare them. They are both very excellent basketball players.

Personally, I'd take Tim Duncan over LeBron James or Michael Jordan any day of the week.

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The problem is, you're using some numbers that, barring some catastrophe, Lebron will most certainly shatter or at least equal.

 

Lebron is, what, 32?

 

When Michael was 32, he had just as many championships as Lebron. He also had far less finals appearances. (Some folks wanna use that against Lebron and that's just absurd).

 

Here is the absolute epitome of blind MJ idolatry:

 

 

 

The video is about Kobe, not Lebron. But look at the complete lack of logic. "MJ had self-awareness, Kobe didn't." lol whut?

 

"MJ didn't end his career like that." Ummm... which end are we talking about? MJ ended his career three times. The first time was a secret gambling suspension, and the third time was as a crappy player on a crappy team that was crappy because of his crappy management. Most basketball fans just want to remember that second time, but I'm sorry: the other stuff happened too.

 

"Kobe had Shaq," "Kobe had Gasol and Bynum," ... I thought all the stuff about Shaq carrying Kobe was silenced when Kobe won two titles without him. (Gasol and Bynum were good pieces but there was no disputing that was Kobe's team). But apparently not! After all, only Jordan was given this divine basketball talent which allowed him to SINGLE-HANDEDLY carry his TERRIBLE TEAM of SCUBS like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper...... lol

 

It really is hilarious, the mental gymnastics some folks do with Jordan. I'm tired of it. Kobe actually won a title without Shaq. Michael never even sniffed a title without Scottie and Phil Jackson. If anything that's a point in Kobe's favor.

 

I didn't want to make this about Kobe because I actually think Kobe and MJ are the same exact player. Just highlighting some more straight-up nonsense by the MJ camp.

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Even Lebron James said recently all he has left is to chase the ghost in Chicago. So that's Lebron james himself admitting he hasn't reached Jordan level. So if he doesn't believe it rest a sure I wont. Lebron has to pass kobe before we can start talking about him passing MJ.   

And I dont know how you call the third most watched game one finals in playoff history boring. Obviously many people are tuning in.  

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4 hours ago, Martyrdom said:

Even Lebron James said recently all he has left is to chase the ghost in Chicago. So that's Lebron james himself admitting he hasn't reached Jordan level. So if he doesn't believe it rest a sure I wont. Lebron has to pass kobe before we can start talking about him passing MJ.   

And I dont know how you call the third most watched game one finals in playoff history boring. Obviously many people are tuning in.  

 

1) If he had said he's better than Jordan, everyone would rip him for insulting their beloved idol. If he says he still isn't better than Jordan, it's: "oh he's not even confident he's better than Jordan, so how can we be?" Besides, it's always better to be humble anyway. Do you know what I would like about a GOAT? A GOAT who says he's not the GOAT. Not a man who, when asked about Kobe Bryant, he passive-aggressively says: "in terms of shooting guards, I'd say he's definitely top 10."

 

2) I'm sorry but Kobe is not better than Lebron.

 

3) A lot of people bought pet rocks in the 1960s. A lot of people watch pewdiepie. A lot of people, etc...

 

At the end of the day, it was a blowout. And because of the nature of today's games, even when two all-star teams face each other (which is the case in this year's finals), there will be blowouts. Blowouts are not fun. I don't know what drug anyone is on if they find blowouts fun (unless it's their team that's blowing out the other team). I am not a fan of either of these teams, in fact I hate them both... so I just want to at least see good basketball. I didn't see that last night. And there is no way anyone can tell me otherwise.

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Went to Cavs vs Toronto Raptors game 4, so had the chance to watch Lebron play live and he is so damn quick for his size.

 

The is something that is kinda hard to see until you watch the man play live, for a person his size, he is very quick and light on his feet as well.

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3 hours ago, Martyrdom said:

This is Lebron being humble. 

 

 

Firstly, Lebron may not be humble but compared to MJ he is a zahid.

 

Secondly, you could tell from the look in his eyes why he said that. That was the year that Steph Curry exploded onto the scene. A little jump-shooting guy who suddenly was getting all the hype. People were saying Steph, not Lebron, was the best. And let's be real: that's absurd. But people were saying it. You can't really blame Lebron for being irritated by it. (and he's not the only player)

 

You wanna see Jordan's humility? His entire career, in fact, the whole reason he was great, is because he was a petty little man who imagined everyone was slighting him (when in fact everyone was worshipping him). That's where he got his competitive edge.

 

Everyone has to have that to an extent to succeed in basketball. Look at supremely talented guys like Vince Carter... he's not considered great, because he was just a nice guy who happened to be really talented. Vince didn't have that edge. 

 

Lebron has it. But Jordan had it to the point where it's a disorder and he needs therapy.

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