Both LeBron James and Michael Jordan have put up extraordinary seasons at the ripe age of 35. LeBron James had just led the Los Angeles Lakers in Playoff domination that resulted in an NBA championship and Finals MVP. LeBron’s success at age 35 is truly impressive, and no player has had a season like this other than Michael Jordan. In fact, MJ is the first one to have an amazing season at age 35.
By comparing the accolades and statistics of both players, it is time to uncover which legend had a greater season at age 35.
Accolades: NBA Champion, Finals MVP, Assists Leader, All-NBA First Team
Statistics: 25.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 10.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG
LeBron James had a truly historic season, leading the NBA in assists per game despite playing as a small forward his entire career. Much like Magic Johnson, LeBron has the ability to see over defenders and scan the court with incredible court vision. The way LeBron sets his teammates is unlike every player in the NBA because he creates wide-open looks for everybody. There was simply no better playmaker than LeBron James at 35 years of age.
During the regular season, LeBron led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 52-19 record in a shortened season due to the spreading Covid-19 virus. LeBron got plenty of rest in the regular season and was able to lead the Lakers into the Playoffs motivated and rested. LeBron and the Lakers made quick work of both the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, before defeating the Denver Nuggets in 5 games. In the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat were without 2 of their stars and fell in 6 games.
LeBron James marked this season with a Finals MVP and NBA title at age 35, once again reigning supreme among all players in the league. While LeBron missed out on the MVP, leading the league in assists is still impressive. As great as this season was for LeBron James, it falls short when comparing it to Michael Jordan’s legendary 1997-1998 season.
Accolades: NBA Champion, Finals MVP, MVP, Scoring Champion, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team
Statistics: 28.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG
MJ’s season at age 35 was just on a different level. He played all 82 games and averaged 38.8 MPG during the regular season. Unsurprisingly, Jordan led the league in scoring at almost 30 per game and also won league MVP. Jordan was still at the height of his papers and no one really came close to him. Defensively, he was still the best guard in the game as he made the All-NBA Defensive First Team.
Jordan was crowned as king of the NBA with yet another NBA title and Finals MVP to his name at age 35. Surrounded by a dominant cast of players including Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls achieved a 62-20 record and managed to reach the NBA Finals where they won it all. Jordan achieved his sixth and final ring and his second 3-peat in dominating fashion over the Utah Jazz.
By the age of 35 years old, Jordan was considered far and away from the greatest player of all time even surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. When it comes to who had the best season at age 35, Jordan will always be number one.