There’s a lot of talk of small four-legged mammals being incredibly influential in Sports.
We’re obviously talking of the likes of the short and furry chinned Lionel Messi or the well-travelled Tom Brady.
Yes, we’re joking, but there’s another G.O.A.T debate that’s building and that’s who is the Greatest NBA player of all-time; LeBron James or Michael Jordan.
We thought we’d put together this handy guide of the key stats you need to know if you’re going to butt heads with your friends about who is the Greatest.
Understandably, LeBron James does have a clear advantage over Michael Jordan. James is 38 years old and Jordan was 40 when he retired for the third and final time.
With the average age of the NBA player at retirement being 34 and the average number of seasons for a player ranging around five, James still has plenty of time to open the gap further.
Per Game – Regular Season Stats
When you look at the stats, Michael Jordan’s Per Game points-scoring are superior. Jordan managed a consistent 30.1 points per game while LeBron James still sits at 27.2 per game.
As far as steals go, Jordan finished slightly above James with 2.3 per game compared to 1.5 for James. In fact, Jordan finished as the top stealer in the league three times in his career.
Likewise, Jordan also got 38.3 minutes of playtime compared to the 38.1 that James currently gets on average, per game.
However, James manages 7.5 rebounds per game compared to the 6.2 that Jordan made in his career.
He delivers 7.3 assists compared to the 5.3 that Jordan mustered.
James also has a 50.5% Field Goal percentage compared with Jordan’s 49.7% per game.
It goes without saying that James’ impact on the NBA is seismic and probably the single most important goal of his career has been to become the all-time points scorer.
Earlier this year, he beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s score of 38387, crowning him the new leader.
His score is currently 38411. Jordan still sits at fifth with a score of 32292.
James could easily push the score well above 40,000, maybe even 45000 if he stays healthy.
Perhaps Jordan’s score would’ve been greater had he stayed in the game and avoid his two retirements… hindsight is a wonderful thing.
If you drill down on the stats, it’s clear that both players have unique value.
James has more value when it comes to Value Over Replacement (146.1) and over 40 points more than Jordan on Win Shares (254.5).
However, Jordan wins on Player Efficiency Rating but only by a small amount (27.9) and on the Box Plus/Minus Score (9.2).
You can see the same stat patterns matched in the Playoffs too. That means you can tell the Jordan fans that James doesn’t shrink when the Playoff pressure mounts.
What about honors?
Jordan fans can rest assured that MJ has some tidy championship stats.
MJ could manage a perfect 6 – 0 during NBA Finals. There was no 7th game needed in those series matchups.
James however demonstrated his capability by dominating the Eastern Conference when he was with the Cavaliers and Heat. That was a whole decade.