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LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo Comparison: The King Is Still Untouchable

LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo Comparison: The King Is Still Untouchable

Who is truly the best forward in the NBA? Other than Kevin Durant, the two names that appear in the conversation are easily LeBron James and Giannis Antetokunmpo. LeBron James was named the greatest player of the past decade for his 4 NBA championships and consistency as the best passer and leader in the game. His basketball I.Q. is sensational and he has drawn comparisons to the great Magic Johnson for his play with the ball. Of course, The King has been the face of the league for a very long time.

But Giannis Antetokounmpo is a two-time MVP who has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals last year and won it all. A Defensive Player of the Year winner, The Greek Freak is also one of the best two-way stars of all time. While he has a lot left to accomplish in his career, Giannis is already a top-50 player of all time and has a chance to solidify himself as arguably a top-5 forward to have ever played. Giannis also seems to be the one carrying the torch from LeBron James, who is 36 years of age and will no longer be the face of the league for long.

In order to put the debate to rest, and settle who is the king of the NBA, it is time to compare two of the top five players in the NBA today to come out with one winner.

Scoring - LeBron James

LeBron James Surpasses Oscar Robertson To Become 4th On The All-Time Free-Throw List

LeBron James is clearly not the same scorer as he used to be, since he has lost at least half a step at driving to the basket. LeBron may not be as quick as he used to be, but he can still get to the rim at will when he wants to. LeBron is also a much better shooter from three, shooting 34.5% from three. His free throw percentage is also good this season (77.6%), and he is averaging 27.4 PPG this year.

Giannis is averaging 27.4 PPG on 53.0% shooting from the field. He is also shooting 68.0% from the free-throw line and only 27.5% from three. It's amazing how Giannis can score this much despite not being a natural shooter from the perimeter. Overall, James is a better scorer because he is a much better shooter at this stage and can still get to the rim whenever he wants. With an inconsistent Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, James has also had to carry a heavy burden.

Athleticism - Giannis Antetokounmpo

LeBron is still one of the most athletic players in the NBA, somehow. He is almost 37 years old yet moves like he is in his late 20's. LeBron is still explosive and is capable of throwing down jams over most defenders on any given night. However, he has undoubtedly lost a step in his athleticism which gives Giannis the edge here.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is probably the most athletic player in the game today. He is extremely long, stands 7 feet tall, and moves like a point guard. He is called "The Greek Freak" for a reason. As a matter of fact, Giannis is as dominant as he is because he is so athletic. He uses his physical gifts to control the game, and that is why he is a two-time MVP and former Defensive Player of the Year.

Defense - Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a great offensive player, and his scoring numbers are clear to see. But Giannis Antetokounmpo is considered the best two-way player in the NBA right now because he is equally as effective on defense. Giannis is averaging 1.1 SPG and 1.6 BPG this season, but his impact goes beyond the numbers. Giannis can guard all five positions at any given time, using his physical gifts and talent to stick with players and bother their shots. Giannis is also one of the favorites for the Defensive Player of the Year Award once again, after winning it in 2020.

LeBron James has not been effective on defense for a few years now, since he simply has too much responsibility on offense. LeBron does everything for his team on offense over the past few years, including being the primary playmaker and also the main scorer. Carrying a heavy burden and also getting up in age have sacrificed his defensive ability. The fact that Giannis is a former Defensive Player of the Year winner means he is a more dominant defensive player.

Clutch - LeBron James

LeBron has put to rest the criticisms that he is not clutch. Even if The King prefers to make a pass over taking a shot, he almost always comes through for his team. His ability to read the defense and come up with a great look for himself or his teammates automatically makes him a more clutch player than Antetokounmpo. James doesn't struggle with decision making and he is experienced enough in clutch moments to be extremely productive.

Giannis Antetokounmpo used to have his ability in clutch moments come under question. After carrying the Milwaukee Bucks to the Finals last year and going toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, The Greek Freak proved doubters wrong about his clutch decision-making. Quite frankly, Giannis is getting better by the year. But he is not on the level of the vastly experienced LeBron James.

Leadership - LeBron James

LeBron James

At this stage of his career, LeBron James is the best leader in the league. He holds everyone responsible for his play and even his off-court behavior, which is as pristine as you can get. James has been the best player in the world over the past decade, and he has done everything there is to accomplish in the game of basketball. Despite playing with a 3-time Assist Champion in Russell Westbrook, LeBron is the best floor general for the Lakers.

Giannis has vastly improved as a leader after getting over the hump and has a winner’s mentality which includes having a short memory for field-goal misses and a willingness to improve his craft. Most importantly, Giannis wants to win every game he plays thanks to the effort he puts in. But at this stage, LeBron at age 36 is a master at basketball and is a better leader than a 27-year-old Greek Freak.

Basketball I.Q. - LeBron James

LeBron James

When it comes to basketball I.Q., LeBron James is probably the greatest in NBA history. We have never seen a player who can make the right play every single time without fail since the great Magic Johnson. When he was younger, this was often to a fault as he would defer to the open man rather than taking the big shots for himself. But LeBron knows how to play the game better than anyone else in the NBA right now, and the fact that he is still a top-5 player at nearly age 37 is the reason why.

Giannis Antetokounmpo clearly has a high I.Q and is one of the best overall players in the league right now. He dominates the game on both ends and does not have a weakness besides his inconsistent shooting. Antetokounmpo is probably the most likely player to take over the reign from LeBron as the highest I.Q. player alongside Luka Doncic, but The Greek Freak has a lot to prove before getting close to James’ level.

Impact - Even

This is the hardest one to gauge because both superstars are playing at an extremely high level. LeBron is the best player on his team because he has singlehandedly carried the Lakers to a near .500 record. Without The King, the Lakers are likely in the lottery. That is amazing considering Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are on the squad, but that is the reality of a near 37-year-old King.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a stat sheet stuffer and is the reason the Bucks are reigning NBA champions. A 2-time MVP and reigning Finals MVP, his impact is deniable and he is probably the best two-way player in the game right now. Taking everything into consideration, both players have an equal impact. If LeBron was a few years younger, he takes this one, but at age 37 this one is even.

1 on 1 Game - LeBron James

LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Even at this stage of his career, LeBron is a brute force and is still explosive at getting by defenders. James is regarded as an exceptional team player, averaging 6.5 APG this season and running the show for the Lakers. He has made Anthony Davis the main scoring option on the team and is happy controlling the pace of the game as the team's point guard. Of course, that has not worked out this season which is why The King has been forced to average over 27 PPG.

Giannis is also the primary scorer on the team and he uses a mix of bully ball and athleticism to score his points. Giannis can back you down, use dribble moves to get to his spots and finish at the rim better than most players in the league. The Greek Freak is also an all-time great defensive star and can stop most players. LeBron still takes the edge because he finds it so easy to score right now, mainly because his post-game and fadeaway jumper is automatic.

Career - LeBron James

Without a doubt, LeBron has had a greater career than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Though Giannis is only 27 and just getting started in building a first-ballot Hall of Fame resume, LeBron has already captured 4 NBA titles and has proven himself in every facet of the game. Whatever accolades there are, LeBron has it. He has made 17 All-Star games, 17 All-NBA teams, won the MVP 4 times, and the Finals MVP 4 times. LeBron has had a sensational 19-year career in the league with a run that is simply unprecedented.

On the other hand, Giannis has 2 MVPs, an NBA title, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year. Having made 5 All-Star Teams and 5 All-NBA Teams so far, Antetokounmpo is off to a legendary start to his career. The Greek Freak had accomplished a lot to put him in Hall of Fame status right now, but he has a long way to go to catch up to James.

Final Score

LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo 6-2

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo even it up in terms of impact, but there is one clear winner. LeBron James is simply a master at playing professional basketball and does not have a weakness at this stage of his career. His free-throw demons are no longer a factor because he is nailing over 77% of his shots from the stripe. His three is deadly and is still the best passer in the game. The King is not benefitting from a consistent team as Giannis has to some extent, but his numbers and all-around play make him a better superstar player. 


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