Before I get death threats sent to me, let me explain. This isn’t a prisoner of the moment factor here. It’s about time we actually look at this with an unbiased eye ( as hard as that might be for some, including me). I’m a Celtics fan, I dislike him so much, but respect is not an option. Of course right now he isn’t the G.O.A.T., he’s only 28. At the same time, he’s only 28 and we should all fear what could come next.
At 28, Lebron has 2 titles and 2 Finals MVP’s, MJ had just one of each. True, Kobe had 3 titles before the age of 28, but he played Robin instead of Batman on that loaded Laker dynasty team. I don’t usually like comparing wingmen to big men. With that said, I’ll exclude big men like Russell, Kareem, Duncan, Shaq, and Chamberlain out of the conversation. Consistently, I’ve always stated that LeBron was more Magic and Oscar than he is MJ and Kobe. LeBron greatest attribute to his fans and biggest critique from his critics is his unselfishness. He is not wired to wave everybody off and play 1 v. 5 like Kobe and MJ have done. Now, that doesn’t mean that he can’t do it. I’m pretty sure the Pistons, Celtics, Pacers, and the Thunder can attest to that. Is unselfishness really a bad thing?
In Cleveland, Lebron made Anderson Varejao look like an All-Star with his passes. LeBron may be the best non-passing PG of all time, and marginally better than some current NBA PG’s. Lebron James will always be linked to MJ and Kobe. So let’s begin the debate:
1. LeBron James has averaged 6.0 assists or more in 9 consecutive seasons. MJ did that 3 times, and Kobe only 2.
2. Also, LeBron James has averaged 6.0 rebounds or more in 9 consecutive seasons. MJ did that 9 times and Kobe only 3.
3. LeBron James has shot over 50% from the field 4 times, MJ has done that 6 times, while Kobe has never accomplished that.
4. LeBron James has averaged at least 27.0 ppg in all but 3 seasons, while MJ has done it in all but 4 seasons, and Kobe has done it all but 8 seasons.
5. LeBron James has shot better than 35% from 3 in 3 seasons, while MJ has done that 6 times, and Kobe 4 times.
6. James has averaged 25 ppg, 7reb, 7ast in five seasons. MJ has one season, while Kobe has yet to accomplish that.
7 James has averaged at least 7rebs or 7 asts in 8 seasons, MJ only once, Kobe yet to accomplish that feat.
8. James is a 9 time all NBA player, MJ 11, and 15 time all NBA player
9. James is a 5 time all NBA First Team defender, while MJ has 9 along with Kobe.
10. LeBron James has 4 League MVP’s, MJ is a 5 time recipient, while Kobe has only won the award once.
11. For a career, Lebron has averaged 27.6ppg 7.3 reb and 6.9 ast on 49% shooting. MJ career average is 30.1 ppg 6.2 reb and 5.3 ast on 49.7% career shooting. Kobe career average is 25.3 ppg 5.3 reb 4.7 ast on 45.3% shooting.
1. James has shot better than 45% all but 2 times, MJ the same, while Kobe has shot less than 45% 9 times.
2. LeBron is a 2 time Champion, MJ is a 6 time champion, Kobe is a 5 time champion
3. LeBron is a 2 time Finals MVP, MJ is a 6 time MVP, and Kobe is a 2 time MVP
4. LeBron is 2-2 in Finals, MJ is 6-0, and Kobe is 5-2 in Finals.
5. LeBron postseason career average is 28.1ppg 8.6 reb 6.7 ast on 47% shooting. MJ postseason career average is 33.4 ppg 6.4 reb 5.7 ast on 48% shooting. Kobe postseason career average is 25.6 ppg 5.1 reb 4.7 ast on 44.8% shooting.
Facts are Facts. Although, I’m on the record on saying that the box score only shows so much. In 2013, LeBron is not the G.O.A.T. Scoring wise, he will never be better than Kobe and Jordan. However, Lebron is a better passer and rebounder, and the argument can be a better defender.
Even more important, LeBron’s road mirrors that of MJ’s. MJ struggled for years until Pippen arrived and then a championship dynasty ensued. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh joined forces in 2010, and now they are back to back champions looking for the difficult three peat. LeBron’s level of competition has been extremely harder than that of MJ and Kobe. MJ went up against legendary big men in the Finals, but never had to actually guard them. Outside of the Celtics and Pistons, Kobe’s Lakers faced a team built around one superstar ( Kidd- Nets, Miller-Pacers, Iverson-76ers, Howard-Magic). Meanwhile LeBron has faced the Spurs twice, an experienced Mavs team with Dirk, Kidd, Carter, and Tyson Chandler. Then, faced a young, talented Thunder team with a trio of Westbrook, Harden, and Durant.
LeBron is not the G.O.A.T., but he’s getting there.