Jay C. Brandriet
In the history of the NBA, I could make a decent case for 10 to 14 guys being “the greatest.”
Back to our current perceptions.
Sports fans and media have been having the Michael Jordan/LeBron James greatest of all time debate for nearly a decade.
Every couple of years, Jordan homers step up to make the following claim.
“THE G.O.A.T. DEBATE IS OVER!”
Oh, how I wish that was true.
It’s not over.
It hasn’t really started yet.
LET’S PAUSE TIME
I saw them both over their entire primes.
MJ played 15 seasons.
LBJ is entering number 20.
The report cards are in.
Jordan was a better basketball player.
Some things can be close, and obvious at the same time.
The entire league had a tangible fear of Michael.
He had the highest level of competitive will, athletic skill, and brilliant fundamentals.
In the areas that matter most, Jordan got a lot more done, in less time than James.
Michael’s peak wasn’t just better than LeBron’s.
Compared to any pro basketball player I’ve seen; MJ was the closest thing to a “perfect player.”
The 1987 to 1993 version of Michael Jordan is THE BEST team sports athlete I’ve ever seen. If you experienced it, you get it.
For those that were around, I understand your belief that “Jordan can’t be surpassed.”
HERE’S THE PROBLEM THOUGH
If Mike was a 10, LeBron is a 9.7 or 9.8.
A 9.75 that will dominate MUCH longer, will have his own unique claim to the throne.
We’ve never witnessed anything like what LeBron is about to do.
He will be an All-Star five years from now.
He won’t retire for EIGHT more seasons.
To equal or overcome Jordan, James must win the long game.
Shortly after entering 2023, James will become the sports all-time leading scorer.
You’ll be reminded of a few things that night.
LeBron is a passer.
When other legends were in year 20, they were broken.
James will be a grey bearded superstar.
A small, but impactful shift will happen in LeBron’s favor that evening.
I think 8 to 10 percent of the NBA community will switch their G.O.A.T. opinion on the spot.
The battle of “who’s the greatest” has been fun and annoying for me.
It provides fire content but has always been premature.
You sick of it?
Try not to be.
King James is about to make that Energizer Bunny look lazy.
The NBA G.O.A.T. debate actually begins this winter.
Jay C. Brandriet