In lieu of LeBron's recent M.V.P award, I decided to have a look back at history and hopefully get a little closer to the debate of Michael Jordan vs LeBron James. Soon after deciding to write this, I decided it was impossible and as it is very much subjective, we can never know but I hope to shed a little light on the debate and maybe help you with making up your mind and also (as most of the readers are chicago-based) have a few stats to throw at people when they claim LeBron as "The King"
We may need to break it down further than simply winning, which in reality is all that matters because as it stands, LeBron is nowhere near Michael. Michael Jordan is a 6 time NBA Champion and LeBron only has one with possibly another one this year. He had zero in Cleveland and there has been a lot made of his move to Miami. He decided to join the best as opposed to Michael Jordan's ethos of wanting to beat the best. They built teams around Michael Jordan and he won titles. LeBron had to get out of Cleveland despite their best efforts to bring a title to the trophy starved town!
There is also a lot to be said about the fact that Michael Jordan played until he was 40. 2003 was his last season with Washington and to be realistic, it almost seems impossible that LeBron will replicate this feat.
Far from it being all Michael Jordan, the fact that LeBron was NBA ready by the time he left high school says a lot about the man. Reading his records titled "Youngest Player records" was tiring, akin to reading a very large novel almost. He was the youngest ever player to be drafted number 1 overall (18). He is the youngest player to win rookie of the year (19). Youngest player to score 40 points in a game (19). You can pretty much add every record you can think of to this. When I say he was NBA ready at 18. I mean he was number 1 pick ready. Also, he is the youngest player to win 4 MVP's which is vital to the argument. He has a three year head start on Michael but Michael was 33 by the time he had 4 MVP's. With LeBron showing no signs of tiring, will he be able to replicate or even better Michael's record of 5 MVP's? Only time will tell and with the game of basketball speeding up and with such exertion being placed on the body every year, LeBron will have to prove the doubters wrong. And there are many.
As I said earlier, winning is everything when it comes down to it and so far, Michael has him beat hands down. 6 to 1? And let's not forget that although Michael played until he was 40. Most of his damage and was pretty much done by the time he was 35. The last few years almost seemed like a personal challenge for Michael and to prove all the people who said he couldn't do it wrong.
Now that we have settled the winning aspect of it. Let's look at the other side of the coin. The charisma, excitement, mystique surrounding the players. Having moved to Chicago a few years after Michael retired, there are still stories being told as you read this of Michael's feats. The one where he closed his eyes and nailed a free throw just before he whispered to John Stockton "Welcome to the Pros". So charisma wise, the buck stops at Michael Jordan. His Hall of Fame speech speaks for itself. (If you haven't seen it, I recommend you head on over to YouTube now and watch it. I've even linked it for you!!) He was a winner. He hated losing, hated it with such a passion that he based his whole speech upon all the people that told him he was a loser. He never forgave them. The respect that LeBron has for MJ is so strong that he changed his jersey number in hope that the NBA would retire Jordan's number. Both names speak for themselves and all over the world, both names are household ones. LeBron has turned the NBA into his playground, just like Michael did but LeBron is doing it now in an era of silly money. In today's world of advertising and endorsements. Lebron's nickname is "King James" and right now he is the King, but if they were to ever match up? I'm guessing most watched sporting event ever?!
I like to write as I speak and write as I think and I just got a huge headache even thinking about trying to solve this. It comes down to where you ask the question, ask them in Bulls-crazed Chicago and the answer is unanimous. Ask the same question in Miami or anyone that hates the Bulls and indeed Michael and your answer is also unanimous. For me, it is and always will be Michael but for you? Have a think about it but don't try and solve it on your own. You might end up with a migraine.
To soothe it, have a look at this.... It's a floating Michael Jordan!
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