Blog Entry

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

Posted on: June 2, 2011 7:50 pm
Magic Johnson says that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Posted by Ben Golliver. magic-michael

Nobody knows exactly why, but former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen decided to state publicly last week that Miami Heat forward LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game."

Of course, that comment was taken by virtually everyone as a snub on legendary Bulls guard Michael Jordan, and rightfully so. 

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson, one of the league's all-time greatest players, became the latest to take sides against Pippen's statement publicly. 

"I have tried not to comment on what Scottie Pippen said," Johnson wrote in a message on Twitter. "But Michael is the greatest ever - point blank."
Johnson's voice gets added to a chorus of those disagreeing with Pippen, as the response to his comments came fast and strong.

Former Bulls forward Horace Grant, teammate of Jordan and Pippen, came to Jordan's defense, saying that he "totally disagree[d]" with Pippen and that Jordan was "the best basketball player to ever play the game."

Former Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas jumped into the mix too, stating that James has a chance of eclipsing Jordan but that he isn't there yet.

James himself said that he had "a long way" to go to be mentioned among basketball's greats. 
Look there is no debate here. Jordan is the greatest of all time.

But Johnson's words do carry a special weight, though, because his prime predates Jordan's prime. In the zoomed-out narrative of the NBA, the Larry Bird / Magic Johnson era gives way to the Michael Jordan era. Yes, Jordan and Johnson were colleagues -- the Bulls beat the Lakers in the 1991 Finals, of course -- but Johnson is inarguably Jordan's elder from a historical standpoint. 

Whenever these debates come up, players invariably favor their idols or the guys that came before them. If not that, then they favor their fiercest competitors or the players whom they could never defeat. Rarely do they favor the players that came after them. It's a difficult mental proposition for someone that stood atop the game to reconcile the idea that someone younger than him could be better.

But that's the power of Jordan's greatness. It doesn't matter if you played before him, against him, after him or all of the above. He was the greatest that you ever saw, at least if you're thinking straight and remembering things accurately. Who knows what Pippen's excuse is.

Since: Nov 10, 2008
Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:33 pm

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

First I have to say that my favorite player of all time is Larry Bird.   Now with that said I think the best individual players to ever play were Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain (in that order-but it is close).  Now, this is solely individual accomplishments as a player.  The best TEAM players were Larry, Magic, Bill Russell to name a few.  Now back to who is the greatest player to ever play - Wilt & jordan are far ahead of the rest - while I lean towards Jordan as being the best there is a good argument for Wilt.  With Wilt the league actually changed rules to hinder his game while with Jordan they put in rules to enhance his game - hand checking became a foul.  I put Jordan ahead of Wilt because he did make his teammates better while Wilt only did what made himself better. 

Now as for today's players - Kobe is the best (that is hard for me to say being a Lifelong Celtics fan-I hate the LAKERS).  He is a much more skilled player than James.  James is a physical specimen, size - speed - strength.  Kobe has the skills - better shooter, ball handler, better body control, more creative - KILLER INSTINCT.  James has a long ways to go to become as great as Kobe - will he get there?  Maybe.  James needs HEART and needs to develop a little class - he has neither.  James is the epitome of the pampered athlete - all thru junior high and high school he is told how great he is and is never held accountable for his actions.  Now in the NBA this trend continues - and what you have is a spoiled brat who will take all the praise but has a ton of excuses when he fails. 

Back to James being better than Michael:  James should not be in the same sentence as Greatest player of all time.  Come on - he isn't even the best player in the NBA right now. 

PS:  is it me or does James travel everytime he gets the ball?  I see him either switch pivot feet, shuffle or drag his pivot foot, and hop and adjust his feet before he starts to dribble/drive.  But I guess all the players in the NBA travel - it just seems like James is the worst. 

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:31 am

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

LBJ hasn't got a ring yet, how could he be considered the greatest? what kind of a fool is pippen? trash talk, sob....

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: June 3, 2011 6:58 am

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

MJ is the best. If I had to pick on play to make a shot or a play - I'd pick MJ all day long over LeBron. Easy choice. Also MJ is a tougher competitor and LeBron has zero class

Since: May 22, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:59 pm

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

There is only one player that is arguably as good as Jordan in NBA history, and that is Magic. So if Magic himself says Jordan is the greatest, I think the debate is over.  Jordan is number one, Magic two.   Case closed.

Since: Apr 15, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:55 pm

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

Lebron does carry his teams (Heat, Cavaliers) better and with less talent than Jordan's Bulls. However, 

1) NBA Defense rules in the 80s and 90s were designed to either hurt or stop Michael Jordan. Defense rules are now (1998-2011) designed to increase scoring in the league:  no hand-checks, one forearm allowed above the 15 ft. floor line, zone defense and double-teaming off the ball allowed

2) Lebron never had to face the '83-'90 Draft Classes, '86 Celtics, '89 Pistons, '85 Lakers, '92 Blazers or '93 Knicks 

The 2003 Draft Class was the closest to the 80s draft classes which produced the majority of scorers, leaders and defensive enforcers. Granted, Ron Artest, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan among others are considered defensive specialists but they are relegated to one or two teams in only one or two relevant seasons. 


Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: June 2, 2011 8:33 pm

Magic: Michael Jordan better than LeBron James

It is refreshing that a player as great a magic has such insight. Not only was Magic one of the greatest of all-time he is a tremendous judge of talent. In his prime magic was simply the best point guard in history.

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