The GOAT debate is always coming up whenever LeBron James and Michael Jordan are mentioned. Due to their greatness, their names are often tied together.
After LeBron James captured his 4th NBA title and 4th Finals MVP, there is no doubt that King James is the best player in the world at age 35. In fact, he has been the best player for as long as we remember. But he has had some competition over the past decade, mainly through Kevin Durant. In fact, the closest player to LeBron’s greatness has been KD because of his unstoppable scoring ability and superstar impact.
But how does LeBron compare to Michael Jordan, the latter widely recognized as the greatest ever? While LeBron certainly has a case for himself, there is still quite a large distinction between Jordan and LeBron’s accomplishments. In fact, the difference between them is what Kevin Durant accomplished in his Hall of Fame career.
Here is the list of achievements that Kevin Durant has achieved in his entire career, which are the same achievements that LeBron has to chase to match up to the great Michael Jordan.
2 Championship Rings (Jordan 6 – LeBron 4)
KD captured 2 NBA championships with a Golden State Warriors Superteam alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The Warriors were already very good (and won an NBA title without Durant), but KD made them unbeatable. Durant won 2 NBA titles with the Warriors which is the number of rings that stands between Jordan and LeBron’s total.
LeBron has 4 rings with 3 teams, Jordan has all 6 with the Chicago Bulls. The fact that Michael Jordan has the number of rings that both Kevin Durant and LeBron James have over their combined 29 years in the league is astonishing. Jordan is the ultimate winner and his championship rings are proof of that.
2 Finals MVPs (Jordan 6 – LeBron 4)
Michael Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA Finals with 6 Finals MVPs and 6 rings. LeBron has 4 NBA titles with 4 Finals MVPs, which is great but still behind MJ. In fact, he needs to play at least 2 more seasons at an MVP level in an NBA Finals to accomplish this. LeBron and MJ are the only 2 players in history with at least 4 NBA titles and 4 Finals MVPs so it might be possible although very difficult.
To put it into a different perspective, LeBron will need to repeat what Kevin Durant did for the juggernaut Golden State Warriors and earn 2 more Finals MVPs at age 36 and 37. KD won 2 straight Finals MVPs with an incredible supporting cast, something LeBron James will probably need to equal Jordan’s total of 6 Finals MVPs. If the Lakers can grab a third All-Star among the likes of Zach LaVine, Derrick Rose, or Bradley Beal this might very well be possible. But until then, Jordan has the amount of Finals MVPs of Durant and LeBron combined.
1 Regular Season MVP (Jordan 5 – LeBron 4)
Jordan also has one more MVP than LeBron right now. The difference between them is also what the great Kevin Durant achieved in his career during his stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder. LeBron James has been The King of the regular season for the past decade since he is the player most capable of carrying any supporting cast to a top seed in any conference. James simply affects the game in too many ways and has 4 MVPs to show for it.
MJ has the same impact as LeBron during his time, except he managed to win one more MVP. Jordan was the undisputed best player in the game much like LeBron is, but he still beats out James with one more MVP. Durant was a beast with the OKC Thunder and he earned an MVP for his efforts because of his scoring ability and shot-making in the clutch. As good as KD and LeBron are, their total number of MVP Awards only manage to equal MJs on their own.
4 Scoring Titles (Jordan 10 – LeBron 1)
Something that perhaps no player will come close to is Jordan’s 10 scoring titles. LeBron has 9 less than MJ, something that clearly shows the discrepancy between how MJ was a dominant scorer. The fact that Kevin Durant, arguably one of the best scorers in NBA history, has “only” 4 is a testament to Jordan’s greatness. While LeBron and KD combined makeup half of MJ’s total, this is a big argument in favor of Jordan both as a scorer and as an impact player.
Kevin Durant, like Michael Jordan, has the priority of getting buckets and gets at least 20 shots a game. LeBron is a natural playmaker but is just as good of a scorer thanks to his driving ability, and also gets his shots every game. But LeBron is not MJ at getting buckets because he doesn’t have the post moves, fadeaway jumpers, or the ability to create space for jump shots as well as MJ. KD comes close as well, but MJ is simply the best scorer ever.
Based on Michael Jordan’s total accolades, LeBron will need to have another entire career to come close to what MJ accomplished. LeBron will actually need to repeat what Kevin Durant has done in the NBA all over again to even up MJ in terms of the most important awards.
KD is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and the fact that MJ has more awards than KD and LeBron combined is quite astonishing and puts MJs greatness in a different light. While the GOAT debate is always meant to have different opinions, it is hard to deny that Michael Jordan has simply the most incredible list of achievements that no player can compare to.