Check this Sporting News article out, is LBJ the best ever?
LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan
He has won more championships than he has fingers on a single hand. He has won multiple MVP awards in both the regular season and playoff finals. He was the 1984 rookie of the year. He is the greatest player the NBA has ever seen. He is Michael Jordan.
Fast forward 20 years later. He entered the NBA at the young age of 18. He came into the NBA with the most hype one single player has ever had when making the jump from high school hoops to the NBA. He became the youngest rookie of the year winner ever. Another 4 years later, this kid, now 23, is considered the next greatest player the NBA has seen. He is LeBron James.
So, nearly a full 20 seasons apart from rookie debuts, have you ever wondered how LeBron James compared statistically with Michael Jordan in the same amount of games? If you have ever wondered such a thing, then you are a lot like me, and came to the right place! That is because I looked it all up and summed it up in an easy-to-follow statistical format. Here is the breakdown of the two elite talents:
Comparison based on first 355 NBA games (regular season)-
LeBron James……………..Michael Jordan:
NBA Games: 355.…………NBA Games: 355
NBA Years: 4 ½…………..NBA Years: 6 1/8th
Age: 23, 1 month, 0 days.Age: 26, 9months, 13 days
Total Points: 9,610.……….Total Points: 11,599
Field Goal %: 46.5%.…….Field Goal %: 50.3%
3pt FG %: 32.3%.…………3pt FG%: 20.8%
Rebounds: 2,401.………….Rebounds: 2,197
Assists: 2,314.……….…….Assists: 2,109
Steals: 634.………………..Steals: 990
Blocks: 273.………….……Blocks: 418
Turnovers: 1,173.……..…..Turnovers: 1,180
As you can see Michael Jordan was a more effective scorer in his first 355 games, and shot a greater percentage, a percentage (50.3%) rarely shot in the modern day NBA, by a guard. In total, Jordan scored nearly 2,000 more points. LeBron shot the 3-point ball better, which was a surprise to me. LeBron has pulled down nearly 200 more rebounds. It’s worth noting that LeBron is 6’8, Jordan is 6’6. LeBron also out-assisted Jordan by nearly 200 assists. Michael Jeffrey Jordan was not considered the greatest player in NBA history just based on offensive statistics, he was considered the greatest for the other reasons such as his killer instinct on the court, his non-fear of taking the last shot, and for his defense — That brings me to my next point. Jordan dominates LeBron in the Steals and Blocks categories as you can see above. Obviously, these stats do not take into consideration his man-on-man defense skills, but these do show you how much better he was on defense regardless. Finally, the turnovers category is as close as it gets.
Some things you have to take into consideration when comparing the stats are factors like those that LeBron did what he did coming straight in from high school, and he had no college experience. He also has put up his stats at an earlier age, so I am not sure how to weight these results, but you should consider them. If you are wondering why it took Jordan so long to play 355 games, it is because he played 18 total games his second year. He had a near season ending injury (broken foot) and played 18 total regular season games that year.
Team records and Playoff notes:
Michael Jordan and the Bulls made the playoffs his rookie season. The Bulls finished 38-44 that year, and lost in the first round to the Milwaukee Bucks, 3-1. The second season, the Bulls again made the playoffs despite finishing 30-52. Jordan scored 63 points against Boston, however his team was swept in the first round. The Bulls finished 40-42 in his third season, the Bulls were again swept in the first round, and again by the Boston Celtics. In Jordan’s 4th year the Bulls finished 50-32, it was the first time his Bulls squad had finished the season with a winning record. It was also the first time they won a playoff series. They beat Cleveland 3-2 in the first round before losing to the Detroit Pistons in the second round. Jordan and the Bulls made the playoffs and were turned away by the Pistons in the next two years. Jordan and the Bulls finally swept the Pistons in the 1990-91 season , and went onto win their first NBA title as they defeated the LA Lakers. They won two more in a row defeating the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns the next two years. He went onto win six total championships in his NBA career, his first was at the age of 28, his 7th NBA season.
The Cavilers finished 35-57 in James rookie season missing the playoffs by one game. It was a huge improvement as the Cav‘s won just 17 games the previous season. In his second season, he led the team to a solid 42-40 record, however they also missed the playoffs, and this time they missed out as New Jersey held the tiebreaker over Cleveland. In LeBron’s third season, his Cav’s broke through and made the playoffs after finishing 50-32. It was the Cav’s first time making the playoffs since the 1998 season. The Cav’s beat the Wizards 4 games to two in the first round before losing in seven games to the defending Eastern Conference champions; the Detroit Pistons. The Cav’s again finished 50-32 in his fourth NBA season and this time were the number two seed in the Conference. The James-led Cleveland squad met up with Washington once again, they swept the Arenas-less Wizards in the first round. They then took on the Nets and advanced out of the second round with a 4-2 series win. A date was set with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals. The Cav’s were down 0-2 but managed to win the next two to make it a 2-2 series tie. James scored 48 points in game five, including 29 of the Cav’s final 30 points and helped them win a key double overtime game, they went onto win the next game and reach the NBA finals were they were swept by the Spurs. LeBron averaged 25-8-8 for the entire postseason last year.
-Michael Jordan has won a record six NBA Finals MVP awards.
-Michael Jordan averaged a record 41 points for a series in the 1993 NBA finals.
-Michael Jordan has scored the most points all-time in the playoffs, has averaged the most points per game in the playoffs, and has the most 50, 40, 30, and 20-point games in playoff history, and scored the most points in a single playoff game (63). He is also the only player to have back-to-back games of 50+ points in the playoffs.
-LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Oscar Robinson were the only three rookies in NBA history to average 20-5-5 in their first NBA season.
-LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant are the only three players to score 35 points or more in nine straight games since 1970.
-LeBron James and Michael Jordan are two of only four players to average at least 30 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds for a season.
-LeBron James and Oscar Robinson are the only two players to average 27-6-6 for three straight years.
-LeBron James is the youngest player to score 40 points in a NBA game, to score 50 points in a NBA game, to win the rookie of the year award, to record a triple double (he did it against my Blazers, I was at the game!), to be selected to the all-star team, to average 30 points for a season.
There is no doubt, both players are the greatest players in there era. However, who will be the greatest of all-time when LeBron hangs his shoes up? Only time will tell, it’s up to you to speculate until that time comes.