LeBron vs. Jordan: The Greatest or His Airness?

Published on June 8, 2017

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By Neal Johnson

In the aftermath of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ (still ongoing, but c’mon) Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, many fans are left wondering: will LeBron James ever win another championship? While James is preparing for his next playoff game, the sports media is already jumping to a larger question – is he the greatest player of all time?

A simple answer for all fans would be “To Be Continued”.

As easy as LeBron has made this current journey to his 7th consecutive Finals look, we will still need to compare him to the Airness before we declare him the new Greatest.

First, LeBron’s career playoff stat line is 28.3 points, 8.8 rebound, 6.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game with a FG% of .484. Now, Jordan’s career playoff stat is 33.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game with a FG% of .487. Those stat lines are similar, but you have to give the slight edge to his Airness.

Others care more about clean sweeps and playoff wins, so let’s compare that total. LeBron has missed the playoffs just 2 times in 14 seasons.  Michael missed the playoffs just 2 times as well, but both were during his farewell tour in Washington. LeBron won a total of 133 playoff games and has 11 playoff sweeps.  Michael won a total of 114 playoff games and swept 10 playoff series.

The overall slight edge in playoff records still goes to LeBron. At the end of the day, though, the statistic that takes his Airness to the Greatest is his perfect 6 for 6 series record in the NBA Finals. So for now, NBA fans, Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time. If LeBron does take home another title, we will have to revisit transferring the “Greatest” moniker from His Airness over to King James.

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