People love to compare the NBA greats, but Michael Jordan thinks it’s an exercise in futility.
Jordan was asked about LeBron James at a press conference in Paris on Friday, and said comparisons are impossible.
« We play in different eras, » Jordan said. « He’s an unbelievable player. He’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world. I know it’s a natural tendency to compare eras to eras. It’s going to continue to happen.
« I’m a fan of his. I love watching him play. But as you can see, our league is starting to expand on very talented players. I think he’s made his mark. He will continue to do so over a period of time. But when you start the comparisons, I think it is what it is. It’s just a standup measurement. I take it with a grain of salt. He’s a heck of a basketball player, without a doubt. »
Michael Jordan weighs in on the 🐐 debate. pic.twitter.com/ZiKkeAoCmU
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Jordan is widely considered the greatest player of all time. He’s a six-time NBA champion, a five-time MVP, a six-time Finals MVP and a 14-time All-Star.
But so is James, who’s a three-time NBA champion, a four-time MVP, a three-time Finals MVP and a 16-time All-Star.
James grew up idolizing Jordan. During a pregame media availability on Dec. 15, 2008, he described what it was like for him to meet Jordan for the first time in 2001. James was a high school prodigy at the time, Jordan was about to make a comeback with the Wizards.
« It was godly, » James told reporters. « I’ve said that over and over before, but that’s what I felt like as a 16-year-old kid when I met MJ. »
James, 35, is still putting up remarkable numbers in his 17th season in the league. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and a career-high 10.8 assists in a career-low 34.8 minutes a game. He’s a legitimate MVP contender at a time when most guys are retiring their jerseys into the bleachers.
Throughout James’ career, he’s shown a lot of deference to Jordan, crediting him with giving the game global popularity and saying that Jordan is his inspiration.
« My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing, » James told Sports Illustrated in 2016. « The ghost played in Chicago. »
Two years later in December of 2018, while reflecting upon bringing the Cleveland Cavaliers their first championship in 2016 and the city’s first major sports title since 1964, James said his chase is over.
« That one right there made me the greatest player of all time, » James said on an episode of ESPN’s « More Than An Athlete. « That’s what I felt. »