James vs Jordan: Who is the G.O.A.T?

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.

NBA, Basketball Herren, USA Basketball Michael Jordan Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, in action in a game againt the Phoenix Suns in 1996. Chicago IL United States.


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.

February 7, 2023, Los Angeles, California, USA: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) celebrates after scoring to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday February 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Credit Image: © Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Press Wire)

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.

December 19, 1997, Chicago, Illinois, USA: MICHAEL JORDAN and KOBE BRYANT look on during free throws during a Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers game at the United Center on Dec. 19, 1997 in Chicago. (Credit Image: © Phil Valesquez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via ZUMA Wire/TNS)


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.

December 16, 2022, Los Angeles, California, USA: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during their NBA game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday December 16, 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles, California. Lakers defeat Nuggets, 126-108. JAVIER ROJAS/PI (Credit Image: © Prensa Internacional via ZUMA Press Wire)

Take a look at our coverage of James becoming the All-Time NBA points-scorer here

Drill down

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).

Playoff stats

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.

Do you want to know what happened during the latest NBA All-Stars game?

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.

Posted on: 22 Feb 2023