People are Still Asking: Jordan or LeBron?

By Jessica Stein on October 12, 2013

In a video promoting the new “NBA 2K14” video game, Michael Jordan took several playful jabs at a long list of players he wishes he had been able to play one-on-one – Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, reported ESPN.

Jordan believes that he could have beaten James in a game of one-on-one during his prime.

When informed of Jordan’s comment, James admitted that he has considered which of them would win, as well.

“MJ said that?” James said with mild amusement to ESPN on Tuesday.

“No one will ever see it and it’s not going to happen.”

This might be exactly why people have been debating this match-up for so many years – no one can ever be proven right or wrong.

“There just is no real comparison,” said sophomore Connor Beatson.

“Jordan is an icon. He competed against players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who are stronger and more skilled than the current crop of NBA players.”

Sophomore Andrew Rivera agreed, citing that Jordan has six NBA titles under his belt, while James only has two. Though Rivera acknowledges that James has plenty of time to catch up, he believes that James simply doesn’t possess the same killer instinct that Jordan did.

“Jordan wanted the ball when the game was on the line,” Rivera said.

“LeBron gets nervous and defers to his teammates more, which can lose a game.”

Still, Rivera believes this debate cannot be fair and valid until James’ career is over.

“It doesn’t make sense to compare them now when LeBron has so much time left and the potential to do better,” he said.

Stepping away from stats, it is important to consider the physical differences between Jordan and James that would come into play during a one-on-one match.

“LeBron is a better athlete because he is taller, stronger, and has a larger wingspan,” explained sophomore Scott Rivkin.

“He plays a more physical game than Jordan.”

In an ESPN interview, Jordan argued that the level of physical play in the NBA today cannot be compared to what it was when he played. He believes the game was far more physical when he played.

“The game is different now than when it was played in the 1980’s or even before that,” said Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra to ESPN.

Although it is impossible to tell how players from different generations stack up next to each other because they will never play against each other, people continue to compare LeBron and Jordan. Ultimately, to no avail.

“It’s good for people to talk about,” James said to ESPN on Tuesday. “It’s good promotion.”


Jessica is a sophomore majoring in journalism at the University of Maryland. She enjoys reading, current events, and photography. She aspires to write novels.

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