The GOAT debate is one of the most heated subjects among basketball fans. The debate has raged on for the longest time, but it still has no conclusive winner. Fans of basketball argue with great fervor about who is better – Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
Michael Jordan, during his time in the NBA, won six NBA Championships (in two three-peats), six Finals MVPs, four MVPs and a Defensive Player of the Year Trophy. The biggest cap in the feather of Michael Jordan is that he is undefeated in the NBA Finals.
LeBron James, on the other hand, is a four-time NBA Champion, four-time Finals MVP, and a four-time MVP. He is the only player in history to have three Finals MVP trophies with three different teams – Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers.
The argument for both players to be considered the greatest ever to play is strong. The 44th President of the United States Barack Obama spoke recently to Complex and weighed in on the GOAT debate. Being a Chicago native, Obama still considers Jordan to be the GOAT, but he noted that LeBron is edging closer to MJ. He said:
“LeBron is making strides in the GOAT debate. [But he’s not quite there yet?] Not quite because look, his career is not over yet. And we don’t know how many more rings he might win.”
Obama talks Michael Jordan vs LeBron James
While Obama noted that Jordan is the greatest ever in his mind, LeBron’s longevity is unbelievable, and he mentioned as much to LeBron when the two last spoke. Obama said, “Here’s what I will say about LeBron, who is indisputably, one of the top two already. His longevity…. The fact that I joked about him because I was with him on ‘The Shop’ right before the election.”
Obama believes that the evolution of medicinal practices and knowledge of the body has helped James stay at the level that he is at right now, something players in Jordan’s era did not have and said, “You know, he doesn’t look like he’s lost a step. I know that he is benefiting from the kind of training and nutrition and treatments, and all that folks in Michael’s generation just did not benefit from.”
Obama noted that LeBron’s freakish athleticism is a major reason for his sustained success in the league. His long career is still going and has to be factored in the debate. He said, “But part of it is just – he’s a freak. And right now it looks like he could keep on doing what he’s doing right now for another five years, right? If at 40, he’s still an All-Star and competing in this way, you know that you have to factor that in.”
It is still too early to decisively call the winner of the GOAT debate as LeBron is still not done. James proved that he can still play at the highest level, helping the Lakers win an NBA Championship at the age of 35. If he can continue to win more rings, it will be an interesting debate among fans.
Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops