Editorial: Michael Jordan vs LeBron James – Who is the ultimate greatest?

Entering the league at age 18, LeBron James is 3 for 8 in the Finals, while Michael Jordan is 6 for 6.

Photo Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.

Entering the league at age 18, LeBron James is 3 for 8 in the Finals, while Michael Jordan is 6 for 6.

By: Atif Warraich, Reporter

When someone hears the words “the greatest basketball player of all time,” two names that encapsulate these words are Michael Jordan and LeBron James. But, according to various key statistics, Michael Jordan beats LeBron James by a landslide.

NBA All-Defensive Team Appearances

Michael Jordan and LeBron James have both made it to the All-Defensive team various times, but Jordan leads with nine appearances, while James trails with six. But compared to today’s NBA, Jordan’s nine appearances have a lot more weight, since the defense was much tougher during the time Michael Jordan played. It was much harder to defend players in the 1980’s and 1990’s than it is today.

Career Free-Throw Percentage

One of LeBron’s weaknesses is his shooting ability at the free throw line, something which Michael Jordan excelled at. Jordan’s career free-throw percentage is a whopping 83.5%, while LeBron James stands at 73.9%. LeBron’s percentage may slightly go up, as he is getting better at free-throw shooting recently, but he won’t be able to beat Jordan.

Dunk Contest Wins

Both Michael Jordan and LeBron James have shown the world electrifying dunks. Jordan made people jump out of their seats after dunking on Jerrod Mustaf. James on the other hand, is famous for his self alley-oop dunks. But, when it comes to the NBA’s dunk contests, Jordan has two wins, while James has zero.

Playoff Points-Per-Game

Michael Jordan and LeBron James have both carried their teams through the playoffs, throughout their careers. When it comes to playoff points-per-game though, Michael Jordan leads with 33.4, while James is currently at 28.5.

League Leader in Steals

I mentioned both of these players and their appearances on the All-Defensive Team. Not only does Jordan lead in that, but Michael Jordan also defeats LeBron James in being the league leader in steals three times. On the other hand, James has never lead in league steals through any season.

Points Per Game

Michael Jordan has scored a total of 32,292 points during his 15 seasons in the NBA. LeBron James scored a total of 31,038 points after his 15 season. When you compare the points per game, Michael Jordan outscores Lebron 30.1, to 27.5.

NBA Finals MVP

When it comes to the NBA Finals MVP title, Michael Jordan once again leads. Jordan was the NBA Finals MVP six times, while James was only the NBA Finals MVP three times.

NBA Scoring Champ

There is no doubt that both Jordan and James were catalysts for scoring on any team they were ever on. But, when you compare the two, Jordan was the NBA scoring champion 10 times, while James was the scoring champion only once.


Another key statistic Jordan beats James in is NBA MVP, a title Jordan has had the honor of holding five times, while LeBron held the title four times.

NBA Titles

Last but not least, Michael Jordan has 6 NBA titles, while LeBron only has 3. Another thing you must take note of is the fact that Michael Jordan is 6 for 6 in the finals. He has never lost in the finals. But, LeBron is already 3 for 8 in the NBA Finals, and has a rocky road ahead of him, due to the dominant Golden State Warriors.

As you can see, Michael Jordan outscores and beats LeBron James in many key statistics, making him the greatest NBA player to set foot in the court.  Jordan is 6 for 6 in the NBA Finals, while LeBron James struggles a lot in the Finals. Although LeBron has taken his team to 8 consecutive NBA Finals, he has only been able to win a minuscule of those. This just goes to prove that Jordan never lost when it really mattered. Another thing to take note of is the fact that LeBron entered the league at age 18, giving him a three-year advantage of playing as a youngster than Michael Jordan. Also, LeBron is playing more seasons than Jordan, but many of his statistics are much lower. Michael Jordan accomplished more in 15 seasons than LeBron did in his 15 seasons. The fact that James is playing more seasons and is still not able to dethrone the king, Jordan, in many statistics, is just sad. After looking at these statistics, comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan should be illegal.