The GOAT debate is one that has multiple suitors, with basketball players and fans always trying to weigh in with their opinion on who and why a particular player should be considered as the greatest of all time.
While earlier the debate was confined to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, LeBron’s impact and aura has helped him draft a place in that elite corner for himself as well.
Shaquille O’Neal is also an outside member of that elite club, knocking on its door all through his career, but never really managing to break in.
Shaq has played against both Jordan and MJ, with both players being in their ‘relative primes’ Thus, Shaq should have a decent idea about who the better player is.
Imagine Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’neal, and Lebron James in their prime all on the same team.
— Talk Nice 🗣 (@djlowe30) October 11, 2018
However, Shaq comes up with a very good and measured response about who he thinks is the greatest basketball player of all time.
“We’re talking about two different eras,” O’Neal said.
“Jordan averaged 30 points when people could beat you up. The game was more physical. In this era, I’d average 45 (points a game) without free throws. Jordan ruled the 90s. Me and Kobe did the 2000s and LeBron’s doing his thing now.” he added.
Comparing players from different eras is something that shouldn’t really be done, but then, for debate sakes, generations after generations are going to dig up statistics and videos to prove that their favourite player is the real GOAT.
Michael Jordan vs Lebron James best 5 year scoring stretches. 3rd-7th seasons:
13,875 Points, 52% FG, 2588 rebounds, 2484 assists, 1179 steals, 458 blocks
11,422 points, 48% FG, 2841 rebounds, 2768 assists, 648 steals, 372 blocks
— Marl Kalone (@KaloneMarl) November 26, 2018
Why does no one ever bring up the fact that when Michael Jordan left the Bulls in 93’, they won 55 games and made to the Easten Conference Semis when debating MJ vs. Bron?
LeBron James left the Cavs in 2010 and they won a combined 97 games (24 per season) until he came back..
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) June 11, 2018
Shaq agreed that with respect to statistics LeBron rates right up there with MJ.
“Numbers-wise, yeah, I guess you could say he’s up there with Jordan.” he explained.
LeBron’s career statistics are pretty comparable to Jordan’s, as James averages 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.
On the other hand, MJ averages 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Michael Jordan vs Lebron James – NBA Finals Records
With the Warriors looking to close out the Cavs tonight, Lebron is set to lose yet another finals bringing his overall NBA Finals record to 3-6. This key stat is the reason Jordan will remain the GOAT. pic.twitter.com/Qau5sLqeXa
— Chicago Bulls Rumors (@chicagobullsbot) June 8, 2018
But when it comes to big game mentality and statisitcs, Jordan clearly has the upper hand, having won 6 out of 6 finals, winning the MVP award in all 6 of them.
LBJ has a 3-6 record in NBA finals and thus a lot of NBA romantics believe and argue that he hasn’t really come good during clutch situations.