Debating whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan is the greatest player in NBA history used to be fun. Now it’s just tired. But the question is going to continue to be asked, and when credible people give an answer, we’re all going to cover it.
Dallas Mavericks head coach and NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is the latest to weigh in, and he’s taking LeBron not just for what he’s done on the court, but what he’s done off it as well.
This is strange. I’m not sure how someone’s off-court contributions have any bearing on determining who is the greatest player of all time. If we’re talking about who’s had the greatest impact, that’s another story. But the greatest player? That’s about basketball and basketball only.
For my money, Kidd is right. LeBron is the greatest player ever. The guy is going to go down as the all-time leading scorer and he’s not even a score-first guy. If we’re talking about a specific comparison with Jordan, LeBron is bigger, stronger, a better passer, better ball handler, more versatile defender; the only real argument you could make in Jordan’s favor would be defense and scoring, and again, LeBron has already scored more career points.
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You can make the Rings argument if you want. The simple truth is Jordan never faced the same kind of competition that LeBron has. There is no way that Jordan would be blemish-free if he had to go up against the Steph Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors four times or the Duncan-Parker-Ginobili Spurs twice. It’s just not happening.
At any rate, nobody is going to have their mind changed here. Everyone has their opinion, including Kidd. I just don’t agree that what LeBron has done off the court, as important as it has all been in the lives of so many, has anything to do with the GOAT debate.