The debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all time is a hard one to sell. There are a multitude of directions people can answer this question with, but more often than not it ends the same with somebody saying Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.
it’s fairly easy to make the case for Michael Jordan as the greatest to play the game as he leads the pastime in various statistics, has won countless awards and maybe what separates him most from other players, his several championships. But, in light of all this, there is a two-part case to be made that LeBron James has surpassed Jordan.
Reason 1: Living Up To The Hype
First, in today’s social media-driven world, the fan base is more than ready to name the next NBA great. As a result, every guard that has a cool highlight tape believes that he can become a surefire NBA star, and every player that scores forty points is convinced that he can be the next Kobe Bryant. What the industry seems to ignore, though, is that the pressure put on these new age players is often much more than that put on the players during Jordan’s era. For instance, Sebastian Telfair and Kwame Brown represent players who made it to the NBA only to find out that the superstardom once promised was, in reality, quite elusive. But, against all these odds, LeBron James, in spite of being the most hyped up prospect of all time, lived up to the hype and, quite possibly, exceeded it.
Reason 2: Bad Teams
Second, like many players before him, LeBron James has had to work with his share of bad teams throughout his career. However, unlike the others, LeBron was saddled with the Cavaliers’ bad draft picks and poor management choices as well. As such, LeBron was forced to fend for himself from the outset of his career. By way of example, after LeBron first left Cleveland for Miami, the team went from leading the NBA with a record of 61-21 to having an NBA worst record of 19-63. On the other hand, when Jordan left the Bulls in 1993, the team dropped only two losses, and when Magic retired from the Lakers, the team, surprisingly enough, won three more games. These facts illustrate that teams suffered more from Lebron’s absence than from that of any other player, including Jordan.
Jordan may seem like the obvious choice for the best NBA player of all time. Nonetheless, LeBron takes the award because his achievements come a time during which expectations far surpass those of the Jordan era. This claim is supported by the unique adversity suffered by Miami in the wake of LeBron’s departure, versus the comparatively minimal losses sustained by the Bulls after the loss of Jordan.