Michael Jordan : The GOAT or just GREAT?
Now before I begin I understand this topic is the cause of a lot of irrational arguments. I would like to be clear on my position before I start. After hearing many debates on this topic I was driven to give my take, so yes I do believe Michael Jordan is without a doubt one of the top 3 players of all time. However the number 1 spot is not already decided in my mind like so many others. Not to say that people are wrong, because I respect opinions. Saying that I feel the NBA has been called home to so many legendary athletes that it is still up for debate in my mind. So I'll discuss the major qualities that go into someone being the greatest of all time.
I've heard "The greatest champion that ever lived" or "The greatest winner of all time" in regards to MJ. False, and here is why. Michael Jordan is and always will be one of the greatest champions of all time. However it is a no brainer that the greatest champion and winner to ever lace up is the Boston Celtic great Hall of Famer Bill Russell. The man has 11 NBA titles under his belt, and 5 NBA Final's MVP awards. Another fact is Russell played 13 seasons, and Jordan played 15 just to clear up the factor of career lengths. Due to the astounding number of times he has "won it all" the Final's MVP trophy was named after him. To say Jordan was the best winner or champion of all time is quite frankly disrespectful to the man who by NBA standards is the definition of winning. Another cool fact is that there are 9 NBA players ahead of MJ on the "Most NBA titles" list. Then he is tied at 6 titles, with the likes of Los Angeles Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabar, his former teammate in Chicago Scottie Pippen, and Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy.
Now lets talk about talent, and skill level. "MJ was the most talented basketball player of all time" is what many MJ supporters may feel. However this is reality, and in reality it is clear that Lebron James is the most talented, complete and skilled athlete to ever play the game of basketball. Don't just take my word for it this idea has been shared by many from NBA greats such as Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, and Oscar Robertson (both averaged near triple-doubles for careers). To highly regarded NBA analysts such as Stephen A Smith, Tim Legler, and Lebron's most critical grader in Skip Bayless. Now don't go ripping me on twitter just yet, I'm not saying King James is the best to ever play the game, but we'll see if 10 years down the line if it's a stronger debate. However there is no lie that Lebron is the most physically gifted athlete to ever play in the NBA standing tall at 6'8 250 lbs, and all of that ties into his talents. He has the speed, and quickness that rivals most of the fastest guards in the NBA, while his ability to defend and play all 5 positions is something that sets him apart from everyone. And did I fail to mention he has the most sensational court vision, and is one of the most elite passers this league has ever seen. He does things on the court that MJ wasn't doing. Now many people say "well Michael Jordan was the better shooter, he was better offensively", and that could be the case. However if he was then he didn't do a great job of distancing himself. For his career Jordan had a .49% FG percentage, Lebron as of know is at .48%. At the 3-pt line Jordan finished with .32%, while Lebron is at .33%. It's very close. Only time can tell how the MJ vs Lebron argument ends, because lord knows we hear it enough.
Now I didn't write this to slam MJ, or claim someone else deserves the top spot. I wrote this because I feel there were other legendary players who deserved to be seriously looked at on being numero uno. My take is there should be more reasoning for Michael Jordan being the best rather than just saying because he was, or because he's MJ. I have no clear choice but a few pop in to my head such as the Great Bill Russell. As I said before he is the greatest winner of all time, and his dominance on the defensive side of the game while also dominanting the paint is so under appreciated. For his career Russell averaged 22.5 rebounds per game, thats an amazing total. Rebounding is tougher than scoring, and he was doing so at an incredible rate while still putting up 15 ppg. Another great was Kareem Abdul-Jabar who finished his career as and still is the NBA's All-Time Leading Scorer with 38,387 total points (that's without the 3-pt shot at his disposal). That's 6095 more points than Jordan's career total of 32,292 points. Abdul-Jabar averaged a double-double for his career with 24.6 ppg, and 11.2 rebounds, while having the most unstoppable offensive move ever in his arsenal the "Sky Hook". He was also a 6-time NBA champion, 6-time NBA MVP, and 2-time NBA Finals MVP. And last but not least Wilt Chamberlain who averaged in his career 30.1 ppg (Same as Jordan), and 22.9 rebounds. He is fourth on the all-time scoring list with 31,419 total points. He was a 2-time NBA champion, 4-time NBA MVP, and scored 100 points in one game something no one else has tied or surpassed.
Like I said everyone has their opinions to who was the best ever, and I totally respect that. This is America and we are allowed to think freely. So I hope you all respect my opinions as well, seeing as how this is a very touchy subject to most. I thank you all for reading, and if you have any opinions of your own comment below.