Bill Simmons, The Ringer's CEO, recently had a very interesting podcast. Chuck Klosterman joined Simmons in 'The Bill Simmons' podcast, to discuss a variety of topics, including the 40th season of ‘Survivor’, generational gaps between athletes, nostalgic basketball behavior, and the 1992 dream team.
At some point, Simmons talked about the differences between players from different generations, especially Michael Jordan and LeBron. Klosterman explained it was hard to compare eras, especially with all the time that happened since Jordan was in his prime to now, where LeBron is playing his 17th NBA season.
"I think that both the LeBron people and the Jordan people seem like they have the same argument, but they actually have different arguments. The people in Jordan's camp say 'he's the greatest basketball player of all time' and the People in LeBron's camp are saying 'he's the best at playing the game of basketball' and it seems like those things are the same, but it's different," Klosterman said.
As to that, Simmons replied:
"I said that Jordan was more than stats and the rings. How great he was to play basketball, the force of personality, the charisma and all the stuff that I felt like when I was a kid growing up," Simmons said.
He then compared Jordan with Mohammed Ali, calling them the greatest athletes of his generation. Klosterman agreed but made the question once again about Jordan and LeBron.
"You place Jordan as the greatest player of all time, but who is better at playing basketball than LeBron James? I think people think it's the same question and you say that clearly, LeBron is better at playing basketball than Jordan for all these reasons, his physicality, the advantage that he has with the things he was able to take from Jordan, all of these things. 20 years from now, when there is a totally new generation of guys playing basketball, the best player from that period will be better than LeBron."
Even though people have a clear favorite in the GOAT debate, everybody thinks is hard to compare eras, given all the differences between the current game and the past years.