It has been implied in so many discussions that the case on who should be considered as the greatest basketball player of all time is now too close to call with LeBron James getting better and better at an age wherein his 'mileage' must have supposed to slowed him down. In fact, in some lists, the four-time NBA MVP has already overtaken his idol, Michael Jordan, and that the three-time champion is now on his way to cementing his legacy by winning a couple more titles for his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, before he finally hangs his purple and gold jersey (or other colors, who knows) for good.
The former Cleveland Cavalier made a strong case last season by not only playing in all 82 regular season games for the first time in his career, but he also managed to book an 8th straight NBA finals appearance despite losing his partner Kyrie Irving.
But, has he really overtaken Michael Jordan in the race? Or will he ever?
Let us consider three reasons why it is doubtful LeBron will ever dislodge MJ as the GOAT.
Also read: Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James Comparison
#3 Jordan is unbeaten in the finals
Although not having a runner-up finish in any NBA finals should not be a sole basis for consideration, one's greatness can be measured by how a player can lead his team to the Promise Land repeatedly without failing a single time.
Having won two sets of three-peats (1991-1993 and 1996-1998), Air Jordan had made everybody concede their chances to the Bulls as no less than the great Pat Riley admitted that, "Nobody else would win until Michael Jordan leaves the game of basketball."
And besides, what can beat being unbeatable in the NBA Finals? Certainly, having five losses and counting doesn't do the job.
Also read: All about Michael Jordan’s net worth
#2 Jordan didn't have to team up with great players
It can be argued that Mike had Scottie Pippen by his side in all those six championships, so he didn't practically did it all by himself. But, when one has to collaborate with a couple of great players to help out in winning a title, it raises a lot of eyebrows and make a number of observers doubtful.
Specifically, when the subject of who the greatest of all-time is hogs the limelight. As great as LeBron James is, that formula didn't even work the first time, having his super team Miami Heat getting clobbered by a Dallas team that practically only had a Dirk Nowitzki.
James would win three titles after that painful loss, but needed all the help he could get from the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosch, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, two at a time. Jordan didn't have to shop around to have great players in his fold, he made his teammates "great players".
#1 Jordan revolutionized the game of basketball
By adding a significant level of "beauty" to the game, basketball has never been the same again since Air Jordan came to be.
Considered as one of the great scorers of all time if not the greatest, he was a ten-time scoring champion and every basket he made thrilled the fans no end.
Even his peers were amazed by his creativity. In fact, Larry Bird didn't hide his admiration when he described Jordan as "God disguised as a basketball player," after a rookie Michael torched his Celtics with 69 points in a playoff game.
When he mesmerized the NBA with his graceful moves and uncanny competitiveness, he was able to capture the imagination of the entire basketball world and beyond, and from then on, everybody wanted to be like Mike. In fact, it included LeBron.
But make no mistake about it, there's no denying how great LeBron James is as a basketball player and as a human being. To claim that he will never be better than Michael Jordan because of the aforementioned, doesn't mean his legacy is diminished. There is no doubt that LeBron, having a few more years of great basketball left in him, will cement his place in the history of basketball as one of the legit all-time greats.