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LeBron James Can Become The GOAT: He Surpassed Michael Jordan In Almost Every Category Except Championships, MVP Awards And Finals MVPs

LeBron James Can Become The GOAT: He Surpassed Michael Jordan In Almost Every Category Except Championships, MVP Awards And Finals MVPs

LeBron James has had a spectacular individual season, despite what his team record states at the moment. The Lakers are well under .500 and are at massive risk for missing the play-in tournament, which is their only chance at making the playoffs. For a player at age 37, the goal would be to win at least one more championship before returning. But LeBron James is no ordinary player, and certainly no ordinary 37-year-old.

The King already has 4 NBA championships to his name, and even if he does not win another one, he is already one of the top-5 players to have ever played the game. After all, look at his incredible career. James has won 4 titles, 4 Finals MVPs, 4 MVPs, and made a spectacular 18 All-Star appearances. No player has been great for as long as LeBron has, a testament to his ability to take care of his body and also his almost inhuman genetics.

As a result, LeBron James is considered the single greatest player of all time to much of the younger audience. While Michael Jordan tends to dominate the GOAT debates, LeBron James certainly has his supporters, and for good reason. Recently, we saw LeBron James pass Karl Malone to become the 2nd greatest scorer in NBA history. He is getting closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the top spot, and he will likely pass the legendary center next year.

If LeBron James becomes the all-time leading scorer, his status in the GOAT debate greatly increases and he might have an even stronger argument for being the greatest player ever, and here are the reasons why.


Sitting First All-Time In Points Scored Is The Greatest Advertisement Ever

Other than LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the name most mentioned when discussing the greatest challenges to Micahel Jordan’s throne as the GOAT. While his 6 NBA titles and 6 MVPs are his greatest achievements, the fact that he is the all-time leading scorer tends to boost him in the rankings. For LeBron James, having his name etched in record books for being the all-time leading scorer is the single greatest advertisement for the legendary player.

The reason is simple. Even for the millions of people who are not aware of professional basketball, seeing LeBron James holding the number one spot among all-time scorers would convince them that he is the greatest ever without looking into details. Of course, LeBron’s career is also backed up with other extraordinary achievements. Shaquille O’Neal mentioned it himself, if and when LeBron James becomes the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, he should be considered the GOAT.

As reported, Shaquille O'Neal says LeBron James can become the GOAT if he surpasses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list:

“He’s got four rings and he becomes the highest scorer in the NBA history. He’s the best ever,” O’Neal said. “Ain’t nothing you can say.

Shaq continued:

“I know what he’s doing,” O’Neal said while eating some roast beef. “Championships are great, but he’s trying to pass Kareem up. That’s what he is doing. I know exactly what he’s doing. ‘Cause now if you pass Kareem up, it ain’t no talk about who the best player ever is.

Basketball is about scoring more points than the opponent, and if LeBron did that better than everyone else, he will convince millions of people he is the GOAT.


Unprecedented Longevity Meets Unbreakable Records

No player in NBA history has played so well for so long as the great LeBron James. The King is in his 19th season and is averaging the third-most points of his career at age 37. James is not only an elite scorer and passer but always seems to find ways to dominate a game and control the outcome. Most pundits and fans refer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the man who played so well into his late 30s and early 40s, but LeBron James has surpassed him in that regard.

The King always seems to find a way to have his name in the record books and is also competing for the scoring title alongside Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. LeBron is somehow playing as if he is 10 years younger on the offensive end of the court, and is putting up spectacular performance after spectacular performance. We will never see the likes of LeBron James again, and his incredible longevity keeps boosting his status in the eyes of casual fans and younger audiences who are becoming more aware of professional basketball.


The King’s Accolades Are Truly Extraordinary

LeBron James becoming the all-time leading scorer would be a great thing for his career, because it will give him an amazing addition to an untouchable resume. James has 4 NBA titles and 4 Finals MVPs with 3 teams, the only player to ever achieve that. He will also become the all-time leading scorer and the only player in the exclusive 10k points, 10k assists, and 10k rebounds club. James also has 4 MVP awards (tied for 3rd most) and 18 All-Star appearances (tied for 1st alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

The King also has 17 All-NBA appearances which will be 18 by the end of the year, which is already the most in NBA history. Adding in a scoring title, and possibly a second one coming this year, LeBron is in a league of his own when it comes to longevity awards and accolades. Even if LeBron James played so long at such a high level, he has somehow dominated the game better than everyone else at his age and experience level.

It will also be extremely impressive if James is able to capture his second scoring title at age 37, along with the all-time record next year. LeBron is not considered a “natural scorer”, yet still broke records by scoring the ball at an elite level at his age and breaking the record for most points scored. LeBron has also spoken about how he feels disrespected as an all-time great scorer during an episode of “The Shop”:

“When they talk about the best scorers of all time, they never mention my name,” James said during the show’s episode. “It pisses me off.”

Clearly, James is not happy bout being disrespected as a scorer, even if he is one of the most unselfish superstars ever:

“I’m not like a natural scorer,” James explained. “I love getting my guys involved, I’ve always been that way.”

The King can also find solace in the fact that by breaking the all-time scoring record, his name will have to be mentioned alongside Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the most dominant scorer ever whether he is naturally inclined to score or not.


Can LeBron James Finally Surpass The Great Michael Jordan?

To many fans, especially the younger audiences, LeBron James is already the GOAT without the all-time record in points scored. But capturing that record would convince many more people that we are witnessing the best player ever because that is yet another unbreakable record to his name. Being 1st in points scored, 1st in All-NBA selections, 2nd in All-Star selections, 2nd in Finals MVP awards, and 3rd in MVP awards is truly astonishing because he is in a league of his own.

Even if there are people who are not convinced that James is the GOAT, there is no doubt a lot of them will admit that The King will surpass a ton of competitors such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once he claims the scoring record. As mentioned, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the name most mentioned when discussing the greatest challenges to Micahel Jordan’s throne as the GOAT. Kareem’s all-time scoring record tends to boost him in the rankings, an achievement that will firmly belong to James. With Kareem out of the way, there is only one man standing in James’ way before becoming the GOAT, Michael Jordan.

Obviously, Michael Jordan did not play as long as LeBron James. The Chicago Bulls legend missed out on 4 NBA seasons due to 2 separate retirement phases, and he even only played 17 games following his first season back from his first retirement. That meant, Jordan only had 12 NBA seasons where he was playing consistent basketball at a professional level. That is way off the 19 seasons that LeBron has played, which is why he fails to compare in many of the longevity accolades.

James has more All-Star appearances (18 vs. 14), more All-NBA appearances (17 vs. 11), and is also a greater all-time scorer. These accolades are hard to argue against because it shows LeBron James had a longer sustained career than the legendary Bulls guard. Of course, Jordan supporters will be quick to point out that James does not have as many championships and Finals MVPs as Jordan (6 vs. 4).

While James will likely never catch Jordan in championships won, he has surpassed him in almost every other individual category pertaining to longevity. He is not the scorer that Jordan is as a purely offensive weapon (Jordan has 10 scoring titles), but James has more total points scored and more total stat totals including assists and rebounds. While there will be a massive portion of the NBA fanbase who will prefer Jordan’s 6 NBA titles, LeBron’s scoring record adds yet another unbreakable record to The King’s name.


Award And Stats Comparison Between LeBron James And Michael Jordan


Championships

LeBron James: 4

Michael Jordan: 6

There aren’t many winners better than Michael Jordan, as he ranks 6th all-time in championships won as a player. Of course, he always performed on the brightest stage of them all and it is likely that LeBron James will never catch Jordan. The King does have 4 titles with 3 teams, meaning he had to move around the league a few times to win them.


Finals MVPs

LeBron James: 4

Michael Jordan: 6

With Jordan being the best player in every Finals series he played in, he has the edge in Finals MVPs as well. MJ dominated the Finals, never competing in a Game 7 and killing off the competition in 6 games and less. LeBron was also the best player in the series he played in, capturing 4 Finals MVPs in his Finals appearances, although he holds a poor 4-6 record.


MVPs

LeBron James: 4

Michael Jordan: 5

LeBron James probably should have won more MVP awards, because he is arguably the greatest regular-season player considering his statistics and accolades. The same could be said for Michael Jordan because he was arguably the best player in the league by the end of his first season. James cuts it close, but once again, MJ has the nod in another accolade.


Defensive Player Of The Year

LeBron James: 0

Michael Jordan: 1

LeBron James was an elite defender in his prime, showcasing his talent on the defensive end when he played for the Miami Heat alongside two other All-Stars. Thanks to the presence of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James was able to focus on defense a little bit more and could defend all five positions when asked to. But he is not Michael Jordan on defense, and quite frankly, very few are. Jordan captured the elusive Defensive Player of the Year award while James has not.


Scoring Titles

LeBron James: 1

Michael Jordan: 10

LeBron James could earn the scoring title this year, a great achievement for a pass-first player as he will join the likes of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Carmelo Anthony with two. But he is well off of Jordan’s 10 scoring titles, and nobody except Wilt Chamberlain (7) comes close. We will never see a dominant scorer like Mike again, and he has the edge over The King.


All-Star Teams:

LeBron James: 18

Michael Jordan: 14

LeBron James has had a longer career and is the greatest 37-year-old player ever. No player has played as great for as long as LeBron, and he has a whopping 18 All-Star appearances. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more with 19. Jordan had 14 All-Star appearances, a respectable number, but he did not play as long as The King.


All-NBA Teams:

LeBron James: 17

Michael Jordan: 11

LeBron James will likely make his 18th All-NBA Team appearance this season, and he is already in a league of his own. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all have 15 All-NBA appearances, meaning James is the leading man by far. Jordan only has 11 All-NBA appearances, mainly because he did not last 19 seasons at a superstar level as LeBron did. James has the nod in a very important category here.


All-Defensive Teams:

LeBron James: 6

Michael Jordan: 9

LeBron was a defensive beast in his prime, but he never really had sustained excellence on that end of the floor as MJ did. Jordan made 9 All-Defensive Teams, and only 5 players had more (Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Scottie Pippen). Once again, James was excellent defensively but Jordan was the better defender.


All-Star Game MVPs:

LeBron James: 3

Michael Jordan: 3

LeBron James is one of the greatest All-Star Game performers, capturing the MVP award 3 times. Michael Jordan also captured the All-Star Game MVP 3 times, meaning he and LeBron James are tied for 2nd all-time with Oscar Robertson and Shaquille O’Neal joining them. Only Kobe Bryant and Bob Pettit are ahead of them with 4 awards.


Rookie Of The Year:

LeBron James: 1

Michael Jordan: 1

LeBron James had one of the best rookie seasons ever, considering the extreme pressure on The King. At age 19, James dropped averages of 20.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG and certainly met expectations by winning Rookie of the Year. Jordan also won Rookie of the Year, posting sublime averages of 28.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG. No doubt, Jordan had the better rookie season.


Total Points Scored:

LeBron James: 37,024

Michael Jordan: 32,292

Michael scored over 32k points in his career and did the bulk of the damage during his incredible 13-year span before his second retirement. Had he played longer without missing nearly 5 seasons with retirement, Jordan could have broken Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record. But LeBron has played longer and has been at an elite level for 19 seasons, as he has more points than MJ.


Total Rebounds:

LeBron James: 10,202

Michael Jordan: 6,672

The King is a 6’9” behemoth so it is natural for him to have more total rebounds than Michael Jordan. James has a career average of 7.5 RPG, ahead of Michael Jordan’s average of 6.2 RPG. Over 19 seasons, James has accumulated over 10,000 rebounds as he is part of the exclusive 10k points, 10k rebounds, and 10k assists club. Michael had over 6,000 rebounds in his own career but falls short of James.


Total Assists:

LeBron James: 10,041

Michael Jordan: 5,633

As one of the most talented passers ever and a natural playmaker, LeBron James has almost doubled the number of assists as MJ. The King is a pass-first player and is among the best floor generals to have ever played the game. MJ hardly had any weaknesses as a player, but his playmaking is the closest to a weakness. Not because he could not pass, but because he was a natural scorer with the ability to take every shot down the floor.


Total Steals:

LeBron James: 2,135

Michael Jordan: 2,514

LeBron James trails Michael Jordan in total steals because the legendary Bulls guard had a career average of 2.3 SPG. James held a career average of 1.6 SPG, and despite playing longer, he could not generate more steals than MJ. Jordan is one of the best defenders ever, so this comes as no surprise.


Total Blocks:

LeBron James: 1,041

Michael Jordan: 893

LeBron James, as a forward with a large frame, blocked over 1,000 shots in his career. That is an amazing number for a non-big man because ball-handlers are often not known for their shot-blocking ability. Amazingly enough, Michael Jordan was not far off LeBron’s total blocks despite playing fewer games and fewer seasons.


Total Turnovers:

LeBron James: 4,782

Michael Jordan: 2,924

Since LeBron James is a pass-first player who handles the ball on almost every possession, it is natural for him to have over 4,000 turnovers. After all, James ranks 1st all-time in turnovers but shares the top-5 with Karl Malone, John Stockton, Russell Westbrook, and Kobe Bryant who were/are ball-dominant stars. Jordan has a lot of turnovers, but LeBron has many more.


Conclusion

LeBron seems to have the edge over Michael Jordan in terms of longevity related accolades including total statistics and more All-Star and All-NBA Teams. But in terms of prime talent and dominance, it is hard to argue LeBron over Jordan.

Michael won more with the Bulls, staying with one team for his career. James had to move a few times to win his titles and often had the deck stacked in his favor. Jordan also seems to have a heavier weight towards his accolades as he has more championships, Finals MVPs, MVPs, scoring titles, and a Defensive Player of the Year.

LeBron’s individual statistics will always be greater than Jordan’s because of his incredible longevity but Mike will find solace in the fact that he always prioritized winning over statistics. 

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