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Ending The NBA's GOAT Debate

Undoubtedly, the most heavily contested topic amongst the basketball community and its fans is over who the greatest ever to play is. Michael Jordan and LeBron James split about 99 percent of the vote, and that other one percent is just odd. But regardless, I'm here to settle the debate once and for all: Who is the GOAT?

I'll be doing this by going through and comparing them in different aspects. This includes overall stats, titles/wins, accolades, and personality/reputation. If Karl Malone had six MVPs and eight rings, many people wouldn't accept he's the goat due to what he did. So, we must take into account any scandals or anything like that. We'll also mention any discrepancies in the two eras when they arise. So, without further ado, let's get into it.

I will also note that no concessions will be made based on Jordan's two-year absence from the NBA or his shorter career. Careers are careers, and

anyone can have a fantastic peak; it's about doing it for a long time.

Category 1: Overall Stats

Despite pure talent, accumulating stats and consistently doing everything for some time is crucial for a career. That being said, this one is relatively easy. LeBron takes total rebounds, points, assists, and blocks. Jordan gets steals, and that is it. Playoffs don't get better for Jordan; LeBron takes every category.

But if we switch it to averages, how much does it change? The two tie on blocks, and while LeBron takes assists and rebounds, Jordan captures back points and steals. If we move to the playoffs, it stays the same except for blocks. LeBron takes the averages for blocks in the postseason and widens the gap on the other stats.

Jordan is incredible at scoring, but given LeBron's consistency with defense and being the superior all-around player based on stats, LeBron will take this round.

Winner: LeBron

Category 2: Titles/Playoffs

Winning is crucial. You can be amazing, but if you never climb that mountain to be the true champion, then what is the point? If we look at pure playoff wins, LeBron has 182, a record, and Jordan has 119. LeBron has won 182/282 played, giving him a 65% win rate in the playoffs. Jordan has a 66% win rate in the playoffs. This is microscopically close and somewhat irrelevant, given that the difference maker to each side is only one game.

But now, we get to Jordan's most significant defense: titles. Jordan went 6/6 on his title runs, walking away with finals MVP every time. LeBron went 4/10 in the finals, still walking away with MVP for every win. Two schools of thought, do you A: Jordan won more. It's that simple. Or B: LeBron made it more, far more consistent. That is what this whole argument bubbles down to. However, almost getting to the top isn't as good as actually getting there.

Winner: Jordan

Category 3: Accolades

This is just overall achievements and what you've done. The two are both unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famers. Both won Rookie of the Year and were named all-star MVP three times. Beyond that, Jordan does win in MVPs by one, same with finals MVPs by two, and he has a DPOY on him. LeBron shows consistency, with five more all-stars and eight more All-NBA selections.

LeBron James has been a member of all-defensive teams six times, an accolade not nearly addressed enough. Of course, Jordan beats him there, but I don't believe he is a slouch on defense. But to sum it all up, I call it a personal choice. Like we've said, consistency or peak. LeBron has taken the time and dominated year after year. While Jordan didn't do it on the same level, he scored more when he did play. It's up to you personally.

Winner: You Decide.

Category 4: Personality/ Reputation

To be the GOAT, you need to be a clean guy. Like I said with Karl Malone, no one embraces him anymore. Not even sports TikTok creators will reference him positively out of disgust. You can be as good as you want, but it's all moot if you are bad behind the cameras. Jordan has struggled here. We know of his iconic attitude towards everyone, regardless of who you were. But it is also understood he was a well-known gambler. Some even went as far as to suggest his brief retirement was a suspension covered by the league. Regardless if it's true, the fact it is possible is terrible.

LeBron, however, has been the opposite. With cameras on him since he was 16, he has never been caught in a scandal like this. Never like Kobe when he was accused of sexual assault or Jordan for gambling, LeBron hasn't done anything. He has opened up a school in Ohio for underprivileged kids, is consistently charitable, and is incredibly respected in the public eye. Some will think I'm including this to give LeBron a point, but I'm not. To be the GOAT, you can't be tainted. Barry Bonds in baseball is the key example. It's important.

Winner: LeBron

Overall Winner: It's a personal opinion.

The same thing I've been preaching the entire time.



Both are incredible, but this is down to personal values over what you think is more important. While some stats can trump that, this debate doesn't have one. LeBron can change that if he does more insane stuff, but it seems unlikely. Have your choice, but listen to what the opposition has to say.


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