The LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate is the gift that keeps on giving.
Former NBA star Ray Allen dove into the discussion recently, though he merely explained why James didn’t deserve to be considered the GOAT.
Where you come down on the debate of which legend is better than the other, though, might depend on what you value in a player.
LeBron fans can point to James’ all-around game, his sustained greatness over a 19-year span, and his ability to consistently compete for championships.
MJ supporters, meanwhile, will likely point to his scoring prowess, his flair for the big moment, and his 6-0 record in the NBA Finals.
Skip Bayless, a consistent critic of James, resides firmly in the latter camp. But there is one area in which he gives James an edge — however slight — over His Airness.
“As I always say, LeBron James is still the best passer in basketball as he enters Year 20,” Bayless said on his podcast, “The Skip Bayless Show.” “He is a generational passer. He was born with a rare gift of being able to see it and anticipate it before it even happens. Execute it before it even becomes apparent to most human eyes.”
The one thing LeBron James is better at than Michael Jordan
Skip Bayless admits one thing that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is a better at than Michael Jordan. “He is a generational passer. He has a rare gift.”
Bayless considered James to reside in rare company among the greatest passers in NBA history.
“It’s a gift, it’s generational,” he said. “It’s Magic, it’s Stockton, it’s Jason Kidd, it’s Steve Nash, it’s LeBron.”
But the host of “Undisputed” also made it clear that he believes James’ edge over Jordan in this area is a small one.
“Please do not sleep on Michael Jordan’s passing ability,” he said. “It’s not quite LeBron, but I’m going to remind everyone, in 1989, Michael Jeffrey Jordan — that was his fifth year — led the league in scoring. He also averaged eight rebounds. But here’s the catch: He also averaged, that year, a career-high eight assists. Think about that. Jordan, as he led the league in scoring, he also averaged eight assists.”
That is by far Jordan’s best season in the assist category, as he only topped 6.0 assists two other times: 6.3 in 1989-90, and 6.1 in 1991-92. For his career, Jordan averaged 5.3 APG.
LeBron, on the other hand, has averaged 7.4 assists for his career, and his rookie campaign (5.9 APG) was the only season he dished out fewer than six per game.
But for Bayless, the gap between the two is primarily a matter of focus — Jordan emphasized scoring, and his 30.1-point career scoring average is the best in NBA history. James’ career scoring average of 27.1 ranks fifth all-time.
“If [Jordan] had decided to, he also would have led the league in assists. But he didn’t need to, because he led the league 10 times in scoring, to LeBron’s one time.
“That’s why it’s not even close when it comes to greatest of all time.”
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