Author: Dawson Haywood
Make no mistake about it, there is no doubt that Lebron James was a generational talent. He impacts every team he has ever been on for the better. Not many could have taken that 2016 Cleveland team to the NBA Finals that year much less win it. Had Lebron retired after that series the debate would have likely gone on for decades because what if? Well, we have an answer to that what if and it has pretty much taken away any credibility for him being the GOAT above Michael Jordan.
I do not want to discredit Lebron for what he has done for the NBA and the accomplishments he has accomplished. 4x NBA Champion, 4x NBA MVP, and 16x All-NBA is just a few accolades he holds. Having 8 Finals appearances with two vastly different teams is something that, as a head man of a team, has not been done before. So again, Lebron has done some great things, but strictly talking stats and accolades, this is why Jordan is better.
The first thing we have to look at is Jordan's scoring. The man is without a doubt the best scorer the NBA has ever seen. His 10 Scoring Titles are hard to debate with. But these scoring titles are not just 29-30 points per game... no... Jordan was averaging above 30 points per game throughout most of his career. As a matter of fact, Jordan finished his career averaging 30.1 points per game, and this could have been higher had he not played for the Wizards.
Beyond stats there are some things about Lebron that prove that he is not GOAT worthy, specifically in this last series against the Suns. If you have not been keeping up with the NBA or know what is going on with Lebron right now, you're probably living under a rock. For those that do not know, lets recap.
It's game 5 of the first round of the playoffs and the Lakers are down by 32 points with a little over 5 minutes and 30 seconds in the game. Lebron James just walks off the court. Okay. Big deal the Lakers are very unlikely to come back and maybe he does have a legitimate reason to walk off. Maybe its to get treatment so he is prepared for the next game. Cool. Whatever. Not a big deal until we get to the next game.
The Suns are up in the series 3-2 at this point and the Lakers should be on survival mode at this point. It either win or go home. There are three minutes in the game left and the Lakers are down 106-93. A decent run could make the game competitive again. Lebron begins to drive to the hoop and Carolina Alumni Cameron Johnson strips the ball from Lebron's hands. The refs deem this as not a foul so the game goes on. Lebron on the other hand, does not. While the Suns go down the court and score on a fast break, Lebron is complaining to the refs. The Lakers get the ball back and eventually so does Lebron. He goes up for a shot close to the basket but misses and claims it was a foul, his complaining to the refs begin again. The Suns go down and luckily do not score and Lebron finally gets his chance and scores. After scoring Lebron decides he wants to talk to the refs some more and the Suns go down and score again. During this possession in particular we can see that Lebron has no desire to play defense. The Suns go up 110-95 and eventually win the game.
This is the game we end who is the GOAT. The reason being is that Jordan would have never stopped to complain to the ref in this situation. He would have kept playing and would have done everything in his power to help his team win the game, even if they were down by 50 with 5 minutes left. Especially in the playoffs, there is no reason the "GOAT" should be walking off the court and giving up in the middle of the game.
It is a little poetic since Cameron Johnson, who graduated from the same University as Jordan, is the player that started the domino effect in game 6 that ultimately led to this debate being shut down. GOAT's do not give up like that. This debate is over.