Hall of Fame writer Sam Smith has explained why LeBron James will never match the impact that Michael Jordan has made on the game and beyond. These two players are always part of the GOAT debate, with Jordan having the upper hand whenever people discuss who is the greatest baller of all time.
In terms of title, LeBron is still away from Jordan not many people believe he'll get close or will tie MJ's record. They have done pretty impressive things both on and off the court, but Smith believes Jordan has an advantage over LeBron in terms of his popularity among the fans and the impact he's had on pop culture.
Jordan has countless commercials, his name has transcended the game of basketball and he not only impact the game but society.
“I’ve never seen anybody skipping down in the commercials, saying, ‘Be like LeBron.’ Obviously, it was commercial and marketing and all, but Jordan changed so much in the world and society—the long shorts, the shaved head, and, obviously, the sneakers,” Smith told Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker.
“The sneakers were a revolution. Nobody thought that sneakers would be a fashion statement back in the early nineteen-eighties. Nobody thought it mattered if you put a player’s name on a sneaker. I remember friends of mine would be in Russia, and they sent me home these nesting dolls—the Bulls with Jordan and Pippen—things you would never see anywhere else. And you don’t see that with LeBron. LeBron’s a big figure and a great player, and he has an influence in society, but it didn’t change anything. Nobody has changed anything because of LeBron James.”
There is no doubt that Jordan was something else in the 90s. He helped the NBA become the global brand they are right now, his Jordan shoes became a revolution and are still relevant to this day. He was more than a basketball player, more than an athlete. That is what LeBron James can't achieve, according to Smith.
He's still chasing His Airness with three titles, three Finals MVPs and four regular-season MVP trophies. MJ, on the other hand, collected six NBA titles, six Finals MVPs and five regular-season MVPs with the Bulls in the 90s.