NBA

20 Reasons LeBron James Will Never Be Michael Jordan

Darren - June 22, 2021
NBA

20 Reasons LeBron James Will Never Be Michael Jordan

Darren - June 22, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. Killer Instinct

Proponents of James” all-time great status say he is an incredible team player. They point out that Jordan was arrogant and selfish on the court. Both of these statements are true but context is important. In clutch situations, Jordan was much more reliable than James. Jordan took responsibility and made it count when James deferred to a teammate.

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The other thing is that James isn’t as humble as these fans say. He once infamously claimed to be the best in the world before a dreadful display against the Warriors. Jordan never labeled himself as the best. But he made it clear that he was with his actions on the court. Both of these men were brilliant, but Jordan’s leadership and killer instinct put him in a different class.

Mandatory Credit: Insider

10. Space Jam

One of Jordan’s most popular cultural successes was the movie Space Jam. It starred the Bulls icon alongside the cast of the Looney Tunes. This movie became a classic and entertained children for the next couple of decades. Bugs Bunny and co. enlisted Jordan to help them save the world from an alien invasion. However, the wildest aspect of this is that James will follow in Jordan’s footsteps.

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The original Space Jam became a family favorite. But it remains to be seen whether or not the reboot receives the same warmth. Meanwhile, the film attracted some criticism before because of its decision to edit and remove certain characters. Lola Bunny’s outfit is toned down for the 21st century, while Pepe Le Pew is nowhere to be seen. Some believe this is woke nonsense.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. Better Defender

In terms of general all-around play, Jordan was much better than James. Jordan even won an NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1988. This was during an era where there were many great defenders. It was quite an achievement considering Jordan’s ability as a shooter. He played superb defense and gave everything in his six NBA Finals. Defense was just a part of the job for him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

James is also a good defender and made the All-Defense First Team on five occasions. But that falls far short of Jordan’s nine times.  Meanwhile, Jordan won three steals titles, which is something James never achieved. The latter’s ability to shut down his opponents is simply not in the same class as Jordan’s. Some may dispute this, but it’s the truth.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Air Jordan

It’s crazy to imagine that Jordan almost signed with Adidas. However, he signed with Nike in 1984 and created one of the strongest subsidiary brands ever. It began with the iconic red and black Air Jordan I. Now there are over 3o iterations of the shoe. Meanwhile, Jordan’s apparel range is so big that it sponsors individuals and teams. These include Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott, Zion Williamson, and Carmelo Anthony.

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Even European soccer giants PSG wear Jordan Brand jerseys. Of course, James has his own range of Nike shoes but it is nowhere near as influential as M.J.’s apparel empire. While the LBJ series are excellent basketball shoes, they don’t have the same off-court appeal. Meanwhile, the Jordan Brand has created its own myth. It’s difficult if not impossible to compete with that.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Bank Balance

When it comes to numbers in the bank, Jordan is way ahead. Forbes estimate that his net worth stands at about $1.5 billion. This compares to James’ $500 million. Of course, he is 22 years older than James, so this isn’t an entirely fair comparison. However, Jordan’s commercial empire is simply untouchable. It remains to be seen if James maintains his earning power after his retirement.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Jordan Brand is massive and transcends basketball in a way that James’ personal label doesn’t. Meanwhile, Jordan attracted millions of dollars worth of endorsements throughout his career. He opened the door for athletes in other sports, like David Beckham, to build their own personal brands. Now Jordan even owns his own NBA franchise in the Charlotte Hornets. Although, they probably wish he didn’t.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Hypocrite

We’ve already spoken about the divisive nature of James’ views. However, the worst aspect is his stance on China. James openly condemns police brutality and racial inequality in the USA. He is very vocal about it and this rubs some fans up the wrong way. However, the problem is that he goes quiet when money is involved. Of course, we’re talking about China.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is massively popular in the Middle Kingdom. Obviously, James is the face of basketball in the 21st century. His comments attract massive attention and he also has a lot of influence. Activists in Hong Kong criticized the Lakers’ star because he refused to speak out about Chinese brutality in the region. They claimed that he is a hypocrite because he only talks about things that affect him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Tougher Era

Let’s face it, James doesn’t deal with the physical side of the game as well as other players. Sure, he attracts more fouls because of who he is. But while he is a physical specimen, he doesn’t relish rough play like Jordan did. M.J. rolled with the blows throughout his career. Remember, he played during the late eighties and through the nineties. This was a far more physically tough era.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The Detroit Pistons maintained a deserved notorious reputation for their brutality on the court. But they weren’t the only ones with a fondness for the dark arts. The likes of the Knicks were also very tough. Jordan faced these challenges in the East and never received an easy ride to the NBA Finals. In contrast, James faced weaker competition and took advantage of this.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Championships

The Chicago Bulls and Jordan won a combined six NBA Championships together. Meanwhile, James has four rings to his name. Of course, he had the chance to win another in his first season with the Miami Heat. But the franchise failed miserably that season. Big questions remain about the influence of the pair upon their respective teams. Jordan was the driving force behind the Bulls.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

His desire to win and his ability to raise the game of his teammates was beyond belief. Jordan had a ferocious winning drive and was uncompromising throughout his 14 NBA seasons. The manner in which he returned after a season in baseball’s minor leagues says it all. It’s difficult to comprehend this level of total dedication to a sport. Jordan gave the sport everything.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Better Shooter

As we already discussed, Jordan scored more than James. Furthermore, he was more accurate than his younger rival. Their records in the Finals speak for themselves. Jordan never shot under 40 percent, but James did so on two occasions. Meanwhile, Jordan also shot over 50 percent in three of his six finals.  James only managed this in two Finals. In short, the difference is clear.

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Also, Jordan’s jump shot was one of his most useful skills. It’s something that James definitely doesn’t use as effectively. When defenses try and crowd him out, he occasionally struggles. But Jordan batted them off with utter contempt. Sure, James has an excellent record in the regular season. But he suffers a decline when it comes to postseason statistics.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

2. Dynasty

It’s fair to say that none of James’s teams were iconic. Sure, he helped to create a legendary moment when he won a ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But he never created a dynasty with any of his franchises like M.J. The closest he came to this was with the Miami Heat. James won two NBA Championships with Miami but lost his first attempt. Then, he opted out of his contract.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

But Jordan stayed loyal to the Bulls and built a dynasty. Furthermore, he helped them to overcome tough challenges. The likes of the Pistons, the Rockets, the Jazz, and the SuperSonics challenged for supremacy. But Jordan and his supporting cast stayed loyal and stood firm. The Bulls became the most storied franchise in the history of the NBA because of them.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Cultural Icon

Jordan is a cultural icon in a way that James will never be. This is because M.J. brought global attention to the NBA. His legacy is far more influential than James’. While James is a spectacular player, his overall significance pales in comparison. Arguably neither of them are the greatest players ever. The likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabber and Wilt Chamberlain were also magnificent.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Meanwhile, James confronted rivals such as Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. But nobody commanded the attention of audiences like peak Jordan. He was a force of nature that went beyond the Chicago Bulls. Unless James becomes President of the USA, he can’t beat Jordan in this regard. That fact that everybody talked about “The Last Dance” 20 years after Jordan retired says a lot.

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