The LeBron James and Michael Jordan comparison has been a frequently discussed conversation on sports talk radio and television.
Who is better? Michael or LeBron?
Six championships vs. three championships.
Jordan has become the measuring stick for James’ greatness in today’s NBA game.
“I think it has always happened,” NBA Hall of Famer, Julius Erving told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I think people always make comparisons to people who are done. LeBron may play another six years, LeBron may play one year, we really don’t know.”
Erving doesn’t think the NBA should state who is the latest greatest.
“I think it’s the fans argument,” he said. Not the the player’s argument. So I stay away from it. My all-time greatest player is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
Well, players past and present are still having these debates.
Insert Scottie Pippen, MJ’s former Chicago Bulls teammate.
“When I look at LeBron James, he’s not what Michael [Jordan] was as a player,” Pippen said recently on ESPN.
“He’s not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player. When you talk about trying to compare Michael’s instinct, his ability to take over games, his ability to want to have that last shot. LeBron doesn’t have that gene.”
“Mike did all his championships on one team and guys wanted to play for him,” Knicks legend, John Starks told the Scoop B Radio Podcast this summer.
“Scottie [Pippen] and Horace [Grant], he kind of raised those guys. Later on when he got back, other guys like [Dennis] Rodman and [Ron] Harper joined the team. Mike didn’t move around, didn’t want to move around. He wanted to play against the best. He felt like he didn’t need to go chase players to join his team to beat the best because he felt like he was the best, and I think that’s the difference. I think that’s probably going to hurt LeBron when you look at it in that perspective against Michael, [Larry] Bird and Magic[Johnson]. Those guys stayed with one team, and they won with that team.”
Charles Oakley, a former teammate of Jordan and Pippen with the Bulls has an opinion too!
“I don’t like to compare because they’re two completely different players,” Oakley told me.
Oak is still friends with MJ and is friends with LeBron. He thinks the LeBron/MJ comparison is not cool.
“It’s like comparing Magic to Wilt Chamberlain,” he said.
“So, two different players right? LeBron don’t look like anybody. LeBron is LeBron. Ain’t never been a guy like LeBron. There’s been guys like Michael, like Kobe. We can compare Kobe to Mike.”
Kind of along the lines of Dr. J’s belief system.
“I think when you add up the numbers and add up the year’s nobody has contributed more to the NBA history or pro basketball history, it’s very subjective,” he told Scoop B Radio.
“You say: ‘Michael or LeBron who was better’ or who was the greatest, the GOAT, that is for the fans to argue about.”
Erving also says that these ‘best ever’ arguments have gone on forever. He remembers those conversations being had even when he played.
“My early years I was inspired by players and comparisons were made with Elgin Baylor, he said. “Probably number one, Connie Hawkins; next in that lineage.”
Where do we have these conversations? “I don’t know, ‘cause they don’t have nothing better to talk about but make news,” Charles Oakley told me.
“Having LeBron is like having three, everybody’s hairs stand up.”
Role reversal: Who plays like Charles Oakley? “Nobody,” laughed Oakley.
“They just don’t,” he said.
“I don’t see anybody with my talent, I don’t see nobody taking charge. Everybody can’t make threes and free throws. It’s just different. Everybody is different, Ben Wallace is different, Dennis Rodman is different, all them old school power forwards are different. We all played as a power forward differently. When you look at Ben Wallace, 6’6”, on the rebound, eh could change the game for the defense. I changed the game for the defense, rebound, charging, getting loose balls, you know.”