The GOAT debate seems to be all the NBA community has been talking about recently. With "The Last Dance" previewing just how skilled Michael Jordan was in the 90s, it has really added fuel to his case for being the greatest.
But in comparing the two, even Stephen A. Smith had to admit that while LBJ has had an easier path to "greatness," his opponents in the Finals have actually been much tougher than Michael's was.
"LeBron James had a tougher road in the Finals. MJ win against Magic first but that was not with Kareem, Worthy, Byron Scott and those boys in their prime. It was with the Vlade Divac's and Elden Campbell's of the world. Okay -- then MJ when up against Drexler and them. Love Drexler, but Drexler wasn't on his level. Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle third go-round, nothing to sneeze at, no question, but they couldn't deal with the Pippen-Jordan combination. Shawn Kemp before he became Shawn "clump," him with the glove Gary Payton. That's what Seattle had, not much else. Okay, no disrespect to the Nate McMillan's of the world and others but Seattle wasn't on Chicago's level and neither was Utah with Karl Malone and John Stockton pick-and-roll and all.
LeBron James having to go through Golden State, losing to Dallas, going through KD, Russell Westbrook, Harden and those boys, even though they were young, still tough. San Antonio twice, we can't ignore that LeBron had a rougher road in the Finals. But to get to the Finals? I mean, please, LeBron was on a honeymoon."
It's hard to deny those facts. When you compare their Finals series, it's clear that LeBron has seen some tougher competition. It's likely a huge reason why he's 3-6.
It's also true that MJ had a way tougher road to the Finals. The Knicks, Pacers, and "Bad Boy" Pistons are all more competition than LeBron has faced in the East.
Make of these as you will, but both players have beat some monstrous teams in their day. It's part of what makes them so great.